Publisher: Institute of Physics (Great Britain)


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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Surface topography is known to influence stem cells and has been widely used as physical stimuli to modulate cellular behaviour including adhesion, proliferation and differentiation on 2D surfaces. Integration of well-defined surface topography into three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds for tissue engineering would be useful to direct the cell fate for intended applications. Technical challenges are remaining as how to fabricate such 3D scaffolds with controlled surface topography from a range of biodegradable and biocompatible materials. In this paper, a novel fabrication process using computer numerically controlled machining and lamination is reported to make 3D calcium phosphate/gelatin composite scaffolds with integrated surface micropatterns that are introduced by embossing prior to machining. Geometric analysis shows that this method is versatile and can be used to make a wide range of lattices with porosities that meet the basic requirements for bone tissue engineering. Both in vitro and in vivo studies show that micropatterned composite scaffolds with surfaces comprising 40 μm pits and 50 μm grooves were optimal for improved osteogenesis. The results have demonstrated the potential of a novel fabrication process for producing cell-instructive scaffolds with designed surface topographies to induce specific tissue regeneration.
    Biofabrication 01/2015; 7(1).
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    ABSTRACT: This study reports the development of novel drug delivery complexes self-assembled by divalent metal ion-assisted coacervation for controlled and sustained release of a hydrophilic small drug molecule minocycline hydrochloride (MH). MH is a multifaceted agent that has demonstrated therapeutic effects in infection, inflammation, tumor, as well as cardiovascular, renal, and neurological disorders due to its anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and cytoprotective properties. However, the inability to translate the high doses used in experimental animals to tolerable doses in human patients limits its clinical application. Localized delivery can potentially expose the diseased tissue to high concentrations of MH that systemic delivery cannot achieve, while minimizing the side effects from systemic exposure. The strong metal ion binding-assisted interaction enabled high drug entrapment and loading efficiency, and stable long term release for more than 71 d. Released MH demonstrated potent anti-biofilm, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective activities. Furthermore, MH release from the complexes is pH-sensitive as the chelation between minocycline and metal ions decreases with pH, allowing 'smart' drug release in response to the severity of pathology-induced tissue acidosis. This novel metal ion binding-mediated drug delivery mechanism can potentially be applied to other drugs that have high binding affinity for metal ions and may lead to the development of new delivery systems for a variety of drugs.
    Biofabrication 01/2015; 7(1):015006.
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    ABSTRACT: A Caco-2 cell culture on Transwell, an alternative testing to animal or human testing used in evaluating drug intestinal permeability, incorrectly estimated the absorption of actively transported drugs due to the low expression of membrane transporters. Similarly, three-dimensional (3D) cultures of Caco-2 cells, which have been recommended to be more physiological relevant, were not superior to the Transwell culture in either accuracy or convenience in drug permeability testing. Using rapid 3D printing prototyping techniques, this study proposed a hanging culture of Caco-2 cells that performed with high accuracy in predicting drug permeability in humans. As found, hanging cultured Caco-2 cells formed a confluent monolayer and maintained high cell viability on the 3D printed insert. Compared with the normal culture on Transwell, the Caco-2 cells on the 3D printed insert presented ∼30–100% higher brush border enzyme activity and ∼2–7 folds higher activity of P-glycoprotein/multidrug resistance-associated protein 2 during 21 days of incubation. For the eight membrane transporter substrates, the predictive curve of the 3D printing culture exhibited better linearity (R 2 = 0.92) to the human oral adsorption than that of the Transwell culture (R 2 = 0.84), indicating better prediction by the 3D printing culture. In this regard, the 3D printed insert for hanging culture could be potentially developed as a convenient and low-cost tool for testing drug oral absorption.
    Biofabrication 01/2015; 7(1).
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    ABSTRACT: In this work, three-dimensional (3D) self-sustaining, spiral-shaped constructs were produced through a combination of ionotropic gelation, to form cell-encapsulated alginate fibers, and a perfusion-based layer-by-layer (LbL) technique. Single fibers were assembled over cylindrical molds by reeling to form spiral shapes, both having different geometries and sizes. An uninterrupted nanometric multilayer coating produced by a perfusion-based LbL technique, using alginate and chitosan, generated stable 3D spiral-shaped macrostructures by gripping and affixing the threads together without using any crosslinking/binding agent. The chelation process altered the internal microenvironment of the 3D construct from the solid to the liquefied state while preserving the external geometry. L929 cell viability by MTS and dsDNA quantification favor liquefied 3D constructs more than non-liquefied ones. The proposed technique setup helps us to generate complex polyelectrolyte-based 3D constructs for tissue engineering applications and organ printing.
    Biofabrication 01/2015; 7(1).
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    ABSTRACT: The use of tissue mimics in vivo, including patterned vascular networks, is expected to facilitate the regeneration of functional tissues and organs with large volumes. Maintaining patency of channels in contact with blood is an important issue in the development of a functional vascular network. Endothelium is the only known completely non-thrombogenic material; however, results from treatments to induce endothelialization are inconclusive. The present study was designed to evaluate the clinical applicability of in situ recruitment of endothelial cells/endothelial progenitor cells (EC/EPC) and pre-endothelization using a recombinant mussel adhesive protein fused with arginine–glycine–aspartic acid peptide (MAP-RGD) coating in a model of vascular graft implantation. Microporous polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds were fabricated with salt leaching methods and their surfaces were modified with collagen and MAP-RGD. We then evaluated their anti-thrombogenicity with an in vitro hemocompatibility assessment and a 4-week implantation in the rabbit carotid artery. We observed that MAP-RGD coating reduced the possibility of early in vivo graft failure and enhanced re-endothelization by in situ recruitment of EC/EPC (patency rate: 2/3), while endothelization prior to implantation aggravated the formation of thrombosis and/or IH (patency rate: 0/3). The results demonstrated that in situ recruitment of EC/EPC by MAP-RGD could be a promising strategy for vascular applications. In addition, it rules out several issues associated with pre-endothelization, such as cell source, purity, functional modulation and contamination. Further evaluation of long term performance and angiogenesis from the luminal surface may lead to the clinical use of MAP-RGD for tubular vascular grafts and regeneration of large-volume tissues with functional vascular networks.
    Biofabrication 01/2015; 7(1).
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this research was to produce multi-dimensional scaffolds containing biocompatible particles and fibres. To achieve this, two techniques were combined and used: T-Junction microfluidics and electrohydrodynamic (EHD) processing. The former was used to form layers of monodispersed bovine serum albumin (BSA) bubbles, which upon drying formed porous scaffolds. By altering the T-Junction processing parameters, bubbles with different diameters were produced and hence the scaffold porosity could be controlled. EHD processing was used to spray or spin poly(lactic-co-glycolic) (PLGA), polymethysilsesquioxane (PMSQ) and collagen particles/fibres onto the scaffolds during their production and after drying. As a result, multifunctional BSA scaffolds with controlled porosity containing PLGA, PMSQ and collagen particles/fibres were obtained. Product morphology was studied by optical and scanning electron microscopy. These products have potential applications in many advanced biomedical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic fields e.g. bone regeneration, drug delivery, cosmetic cream lathers, facial scrubbing creams etc.
    Biofabrication 12/2014; 6(4):045010.
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    ABSTRACT: The role of physical forces in disease onset and progression is widely accepted and this knowledge presents an alternative route to investigating disease models. Recently, numerous force measurement techniques have been developed to probe single and multi-cell behavior. While these methods have yielded fundamental insights, they are yet unable to capture the fibrous extra-cellular matrix biophysical interactions, involving parameters of curvature, structural stiffness (N m(-1)), alignment and hierarchy, which have been shown to play key roles in disease and developmental biology. Using a highly aggressive glioma model (DBTRG-05MG), we present a platform technology to quantify single cell force modulation (both inside-out and outside-in) with and without the presence of a cytoskeleton altering drug (cytochalasin D) using suspended and aligned fiber networks (nanonets) beginning to represent the aligned glioma environment. The nanonets fused in crisscross patterns were manufactured using the non-electrospinning spinneret based tunable engineering parameters technique. We demonstrate the ability to measure contractile single cell forces exerted by glioma cells attached to and migrating along the fiber axis (inside-out). This is followed by a study of force response of glioma cells attached to two parallel fibers using a probe deflecting the leading fiber (outside-in). The forces are calculated using beam deflection within the elastic limit. Our data shows that cytochalasin D compromises the spreading area of single glioma cells, eventually decreasing their 'inside-out' contractile forces, and 'outside-in' force response to external strain. Most notably, for the first time, we demonstrate the feasibility of using physiologically relevant aligned fiber networks as ultra-sensitive force (∼nanoNewtons) probes for investigating drug response and efficacy in disease models at the single cell resolution.
    Biofabrication 12/2014; 6(4):045006.
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    ABSTRACT: Cardiac fibrosis greatly impairs normal heart function post infarction and there is no effective anti-fibrotic drug developed at present. The current therapies for cardiac infarction mainly take effect by eliminating occlusion in coronary artery by thrombolysis drugs, vascular stent grafting or heart bypass operation, which are capable to provide sufficient blood flow for intact myocardium yet showed subtle efficacy in ameliorating fibrosis condition. The advances of in vitro cell/tissue models open new avenues for drug assessment due to the low cost, good controllability and availability as well as the convenience for operation as compared to the animal models. To our knowledge, no proper biomimetic in vitro cardiac fibrosis model has been reported yet. Here we engineered an in vitro cardiac fibrosis model using heart-derived fibroblasts, and the fibrogenesis was recapitulated by patterning the substrate rigidity which mimicked the mechanical heterogeneity of myocardium post-infarction. Various biomarkers for cardiac fibrosis were assayed to validate the biomimicry of the engineered platform. Subsequent addition of Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) pathway inhibitor reduced the ratio of myofibroblasts, indicating the feasibility of applying this platform in screening anti-fibrosis drugs.
    Biofabrication 12/2014; 6(4):045009.
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    ABSTRACT: Biostable fiber-reinforced composites, based on bisphenol-A-dimethacrylate and triethyleneglycoldimethacrylate thermoset polymer matrix reinforced with E-glass fibers have been successfully used in cranial reconstructions and the material has been approved for clinical use. As a further refinement of these implants, antimicrobial, non-cytotoxic coatings on the composites were created by an immersion procedure driven by strong electrostatic interactions. Silver nanoparticles (nAg) were immobilized in lactose-modified chitosan (Chitlac) to prepare the bacteriostatic coatings. Herein, we report the use of inkjet technology (a drop-on-demand inkjet printer) to deposit functional Chitlac-nAg coatings on the thermoset substrates. Characterization methods included scanning electron microscopy, scanning white light interferometry and electro-thermal atomic absorption spectroscopy. Inkjet printing enabled the fast and flexible functionalization of the thermoset surfaces with controlled coating patterns. The coatings were not impaired by the printing process: the kinetics of silver release from the coatings created by inkjet printing and conventional immersion technique was similar. Further research is foreseen to optimize printing parameters and to tailor the characteristics of the coatings for specific clinical applications.
    Biofabrication 10/2014; 6(4):041001.
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    ABSTRACT: A scaffold, which can provide mechanical support for tissue regeneration and simultaneously release functionally active biomolecules are highly desirable for tissue engineering applications. Herein, we report the fabrication of a fibrous mesh of polycaprolactone (PCL) incorporating PCL-pluronic (F127) microvesicles through electrospinning, by exploiting the slow dissolution of PCL in glacial acetic acid (g-AA). Micro-vesicles 1–10 μm in diameter were fabricated through a non-solubility driven spontaneous self-assembly and stabilization of F127 with low molecular weight PCL in tetrahydrofuran-water mixture. Time-dependent stability of the vesicles in g-AA was confirmed prior to the electrospinning. The electrospun membrane was found to be comprised of microvesicles entangled in a fibrous mesh of PCL with a fiber diameter ranging from 50–300 nm. Significant reduction in the release rate of rhodamine-B, an indicator dye from the electrospun membrane, when compared to that from the vesicle alone, evidences the surface coating of the vesicles with high molecular weight PCL during electrospinning. The vesicle incorporated membrane exhibited increased hydrophilicity when compared to the control PCL membrane, possibly due to surface unevenness and the hydrophilic F127. This enhanced surface hydrophilicity led to an increased cell viability of L929 cells on the membrane.
    Biofabrication 10/2014; 6(4):045008.
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    ABSTRACT: Vascular disease is a leading cause of death globally and typically manifests chronically due to long-term maladaptive arterial growth and remodeling. To date, there is no in vitro technique for studying vascular function over relevant disease time courses that both mimics in vivo-like tissue structure and provides a simple readout of tissue stress. We aimed to extend tissue viability in our muscular thin film contractility assay by modifying the polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrate with micropatterned genipin, allowing extracellular matrix turnover without cell loss. To achieve this, we developed a microfluidic delivery system to pattern genipin and extracellular matrix proteins on PDMS prior to cell seeding. Tissues constructed using this method showed improved viability and maintenance of in vivo-like lamellar structure. Functional contractility of tissues fabricated on genipin-modified substrates remained consistent throughout two weeks in culture. These results suggest that muscular thin films with genipin-modified PDMS substrates are a viable method for conducting functional studies of arterial growth and remodeling in vascular diseases.
    Biofabrication 09/2014; 6(4):045005.
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    ABSTRACT: Because patient bone defects are usually varied and complicated in geometry, it would be preferred to fabricate custom-made artificial bone grafts that are anatomically specific to individual patient defects. Using a rabbit femoral segment as a bone reconstruction model, we successfully produced customized ceramic scaffolds by stereolithography, which not only had an anatomically correct external shape according to computed tomography data but also contained an interconnecting internal network of channels designed for perfusion culture. Rabbit bone marrow stromal cells were isolated and cultured with these scaffolds using a novel oscillatory perfusion system that was stereolithographically fabricated to fit well to the unique scaffold shapes. After five days of three-dimensional culture with oscillatory perfusion, the cells attached and proliferated homogenously in the scaffolds. However, control cells inside the scaffolds cultured under static conditions were dead after prolonged in vitro culture. Cellular DNA content and alkaline phosphatase activities were significantly higher in the perfusion group versus the static group. Therefore, anatomically correct artificial bone can be successfully constructed using stereolithography and oscillatory culture technology, and could be useful for bone engraftment and defect repair.
    Biofabrication 09/2014; 6(4):045002.
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    ABSTRACT: The ability to place individual cells into an engineered microenvironment in a cell-culture model is critical for the study of in vivo relevant cell–cell and cell–extracellular matrix interactions. Microfluidics provides a high-throughput modality to inject various cell types into a microenvironment. Laser guided systems provide the high spatial and temporal resolution necessary for single-cell micropatterning. Combining these two techniques, the authors designed, constructed, tested and evaluated (1) a novel removable microfluidics-based cell-delivery biochip and (2) a combined system that uses the novel biochip coupled with a laser guided cell-micropatterning system to place individual cells into both two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) arrays. Cell-suspensions of chick forebrain neurons and glial cells were loaded into their respective inlet reservoirs and traversed the microfluidic channels until reaching the outlet ports. Individual cells were trapped and guided from the outlet of a microfluidic channel to a target site on the cell-culture substrate. At the target site, 2D and 3D pattern arrays were constructed with micron-level accuracy. Single-cell manipulation was accomplished at a rate of 150 μm s−1 in the radial plane and 50 μm s−1 in the axial direction of the laser beam. Results demonstrated that a single-cell can typically be patterned in 20–30 s, and that highly accurate and reproducible cellular arrays and systems can be achieved through coupling the microfluidics-based cell-delivery biochip with the laser guided system.
    Biofabrication 09/2014; 6(3):035025.
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    ABSTRACT: The direct effect of guidance cues on developing and regenerating axons in vivo is not fully understood, as the process involves a multiplicity of attractive and repulsive signals, presented both as soluble and membrane-bound ligands. A better understanding of axon guidance is critical to functional recovery following injury to the nervous system through improved outgrowth and mapping of damaged nerves. Due to their implications as inhibitors to central nervous system regeneration, we investigated the repulsive properties of semaphorin 6A and ephrin-B3 on E15 rat dorsal root ganglion explants, as well as possible interactions with soluble gradients of chemoattractive nerve growth factor (NGF). We employed a 3D biomimetic in vitro choice point model, which enabled the simple and rapid preparation of patterned gel growth matrices with quantifiable presentation of guidance cues in a specifiable manner that resembles the in vivo presentation of soluble and/or immobilized ligands. Neurites demonstrated an inhibitory response to immobilized Sema6A by lumbosacral dorsal root ganglion explants, while no such repulsion was observed for immobilized ephrin-B3 by explants at any spinal level. Interestingly, Sema6A inhibition could be partially attenuated in a concentration-dependent manner through the simultaneous presentation of soluble NGF gradients. The in vitro model described herein represents a versatile and valuable investigative tool in the quest for understanding developmental processes and improving regeneration following nervous system injury.
    Biofabrication 09/2014; 6(3):035026.
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    ABSTRACT: Omentum-based matrices fabricated by decellularization have the potential to serve as autologous scaffolds for tissue engineering. Transplantation of such scaffolds prepared from the patient's own biomaterial may reduce the immunogenic response after transplantation. Recently we reported on the potential of the decellularized omentum to support the assembly of functional vascularized cardiac patches. Here we compared five distinct protocols for omentum decellularization, utilizing chemical, physical and biological processes. We analyzed the efficiency of cell removal, scaffold macro and micro structure, biochemical composition and the ability of seeded cells to attach and proliferate in the matrix. Moreover, we assessed the ability of the distinct scaffolds to promote the organization of cardiac tissue.
    Biofabrication 08/2014; 6(3):035023.