Reprogramming cardiomyocyte mechanosensing by crosstalk between integrins and hyaluronic acid receptors
ABSTRACT The elastic modulus of bioengineered materials has a strong influence on the phenotype of many cells including cardiomyocytes. On polyacrylamide (PAA) gels that are laminated with ligands for integrins, cardiac myocytes develop well organized sarcomeres only when cultured on substrates with elastic moduli in the range 10 kPa-30 kPa, near those of the healthy tissue. On stiffer substrates (>60 kPa) approximating the damaged heart, myocytes form stress fiber-like filament bundles but lack organized sarcomeres or an elongated shape. On soft (<1 kPa) PAA gels myocytes exhibit disorganized actin networks and sarcomeres. However, when the polyacrylamide matrix is replaced by hyaluronic acid (HA) as the gel network to which integrin ligands are attached, robust development of functional neonatal rat ventricular myocytes occurs on gels with elastic moduli of 200 Pa, a stiffness far below that of the neonatal heart and on which myocytes would be amorphous and dysfunctional when cultured on polyacrylamide-based gels. The HA matrix by itself is not adhesive for myocytes, and the myocyte phenotype depends on the type of integrin ligand that is incorporated within the HA gel, with fibronectin, gelatin, or fibrinogen being more effective than collagen I. These results show that HA alters the integrin-dependent stiffness response of cells in vitro and suggests that expression of HA within the extracellular matrix (ECM) in vivo might similarly alter the response of cells that bind the ECM through integrins. The integration of HA with integrin-specific ECM signaling proteins provides a rationale for engineering a new class of soft hybrid hydrogels that can be used in therapeutic strategies to reverse the remodeling of the injured myocardium.
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: A variety of cell types exhibit phenotype changes in response to the mechanical stiffness of the substrate. Many cells excluding neurons display increase in spread area, actin stress fiber formation and larger focal adhesion complexes as substrate stiffness increases in sparsely populated culture. Cell proliferation is also known to directly correlate with these phenotype changes/change in substrate stiffness. Augmented spreading and proliferation on stiffer substrates require nuclear transcriptional regulator YAP (Yes associated protein) localization in cell nucleus and is tightly coupled with larger traction force generation. In this study, we show that different types of fibroblasts can exhibit spread morphology, well defined actin stress fibers, and larger focal adhesions even on very soft collagen gels (modulus in hundreds of Pascals) as if they are on hard glass substrate (modulus in GPa, several orders of magnitude higher). Strikingly, we show, for the first time, that augmented spreading and other hard substrate cytoskeleton architecture on soft collagen gels are not correlated with cell proliferation pattern and do not require YAP localization in cell nucleus. Finally, we examine the response of human colon carcinoma (HCT-8) cells on soft collagen gels. Recent studies show that human colon carcinoma (HCT-8) cells form multicellular clusters by 2-3 days when cultured on soft polyacrylamide (PA) gels with a wide range of stiffness (0.5-50 kPa) and coated with extracellular matrix, ECM (collagen monomer/ fibronectin). These clusters show limited spreading/wetting on PA gels, form 3D structures at the edges, and eventually display a remarkable, dissociative metastasis like phenotype (MLP), i.e., epithelial to rounded morphological transition after a week of culture on PA gels only, but not on collagen monomer coated stiff polystyrene/glass where they exhibit enhanced wetting and form confluent monolayer. Here, we show that HCT-8 cell clusters also show augmented spreading/wetting on soft collagen gels and eventually form confluent monolayer as on rigid glass substrates and MLP is completely inhibited on soft collagen gels. Overall, these results suggest that cell-material interaction (soft collagen gels in this case) can induce cellular phenotype and cytoskeleton organization in a remarkably distinct manner compared to a classical synthetic polyacrylamide (PA) hydrogel cell culture model and may contribute in designing new functional biomaterials.Soft Matter 09/2014; 10(44). DOI:10.1039/C4SM01602E · 4.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Stem cells regulate their fate by binding to, and contracting against, the extracellular matrix. Recently, it has been proposed that in addition to matrix stiffness and ligand type, the degree of coupling of fibrous protein to the surface of the underlying substrate, that is, tethering and matrix porosity, also regulates stem cell differentiation. By modulating substrate porosity without altering stiffness in polyacrylamide gels, we show that varying substrate porosity did not significantly change protein tethering, substrate deformations, or the osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation of human adipose-derived stromal cells and marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells. Varying protein-substrate linker density up to 50-fold changed tethering, but did not affect osteogenesis, adipogenesis, surface-protein unfolding or underlying substrate deformations. Differentiation was also unaffected by the absence of protein tethering. Our findings imply that the stiffness of planar matrices regulates stem cell differentiation independently of protein tethering and porosity.Nature Material 08/2014; DOI:10.1038/nmat4051 · 36.43 Impact Factor
Article: Hyaluronan and cardiac regeneration[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Hyaluronan (HA) is abundantly expressed in several human tissues and a variety of roles for HA has been highlighted. Particularly relevant for tissue repair, HA is actively produced during tissue injury, as widely evidenced in wound healing investigations. In the heart HA is involved in physiological functions, such as cardiac development during embryogenesis, and in pathological conditions including atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction. Moreover, owing to its relevant biological properties, HA has been widely used as a biomaterial for heart regeneration after a myocardial infarction. Indeed, HA and its derivatives are biodegradable and biocompatible, promote faster healing of injured tissues, and support cells in relevant processes including survival, proliferation, and differentiation. Injectable HA-based therapies for cardiovascular disease are gaining growing attention because of the benefits obtained in preclinical models of myocardial infarction. HA-based hydrogels, especially as a vehicle for stem cells, have been demonstrated to improve the process of cardiac repair by stimulating angiogenesis, reducing inflammation, and supporting local and grafted cells in their reparative functions. Solid-state HA-based scaffolds have been also investigated to produce constructs hosting mesenchymal stem cells or endothelial progenitor cells to be transplanted onto the infarcted surface of the heart. Finally, applying an ex-vivo mechanical stretching, stem cells grown in HA-based 3D scaffolds can further increase extracellular matrix production and proneness to differentiate into muscle phenotypes, thus suggesting a potential strategy to create a suitable engineered myocardial tissue for cardiac regeneration.Journal of Biomedical Science 10/2014; 21(1):100. DOI:10.1186/s12929-014-0100-4 · 2.74 Impact Factor