Article

SDF‐1α gene‐activated collagen scaffold drives functional differentiation of human Schwann cells for wound healing applications

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Abstract

Enhancing angiogenesis is the prime target of current biomaterial‐based wound healing strategies. However, these approaches largely overlook the angiogenic role of the cells of the nervous system. Therefore, we explored the role of a collagen‐chondroitin sulfate scaffold functionalized with a proangiogenic gene stromal‐derived factor‐1α (SDF‐1α)—an SDF‐1α gene‐activated scaffold on the functional regulation of human Schwann cells (SCs). A preliminary 2D study was conducted by delivering plasmids encoding for the SDF‐1α gene into a monolayer of SCs using polyethyleneimine‐based nanoparticles. The delivery of the SDF‐1α gene into the SCs enhanced the production of proangiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Subsequently, we investigated the impact of SDF‐1α gene‐activated scaffold (3D) on the SCs for 2 weeks, using a gene‐free scaffold as control. The transfection of the SCs within the gene‐activated scaffold resulted in transient overexpression of SDF‐1α transcripts and triggered the production of bioactive VEGF that enhanced endothelial angiogenesis. The overexpression of SDF‐1α also caused transient activation of the transcription factor c‐Jun and supported the differentiation of SCs towards a repair phenotype. This was characterized by elevated expression of neurotrophin receptor p75NGFR. During this developmental stage, the SCs also performed an extensive remodelling of the basement matrix (fibronectin, collagen IV, and laminin) to enrich their environment with the pro‐neurogenic matrix protein laminin, revealing an enhanced pro‐neurogenic behavior. Together, this study shows that SDF‐1α gene‐activated scaffold is a highly bioinstructive scaffold capable of enhancing proangiogenic regenerative response in human SCs for improved wound healing.

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... Soft tissues such as skin are richly innervated and Schwann cells (SCs) play angiogenic roles that could assist wound healing. Laiva et al. fabricated gene-activated scaffolds to drive SCs differentiation and promote angiogenesis [166]. Freeze-dried porous Col-chondroitin sulfate scaffolds were fabricated and crosslinked to provide structural reinforcement. ...
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Directed cell migration is a crucial orchestrated process in embryonic development, wound healing, and immune response. The underlying substrate can provide physical and/or chemical cues that promote directed cell migration. Here, using electrospinning we developed substrates of aligned poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanofibres to study the influence of glial cells on endothelial cells (ECs) in a three-dimensional (3D) co-culture model. ECs build blood vessels and regulate their plasticity in coordination with neurons. Likewise, neurons construct nerves and regulate their circuits in coordination with ECs. In our model, the neuro-vascular cross-talk was assessed using a direct co-culture model of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and rat Schwann cells (rSCs). The effect of rSCs on ECs behaviour was demonstrated by earlier and higher velocity values and genetic expression profiles different of those of HUVECs when seeded alone. We observed two different gene expression trends in the co-culture models: (i) a later gene expression of angiogenic factors, such as interleukin-8 (IL-8) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and (ii) an higher gene expression of genes involved in actin filaments rearrangement, such as focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Mitogen-activated protein kinase-activated protein kinase 13 (MAPKAPK13), Vinculin (VCL), and Profilin (PROF). These results suggested that the higher ECs migration is mainly due to proteins involved in the actin filaments rearrangement and in the directed cell migration rather than the effect of angiogenic factors. This co-culture model provides an approach to enlighten the neurovascular interactions, with particular focus on endothelial cell migration.
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Despite the promise for stem cell-based tissue engineering for regenerative therapy, slow and insufficient vascularization of large tissue constructs negatively impacts the survival and function of these transplanted cells. A combination of channeled porous silk scaffolds and prevascularization with endothelial cells was investigated to test the ability of this tissue engineering strategy to support rapid and extensive vascularization process. We report that hollow channels promote in vitro prevascularization by facilitating endothelial cell growth, VEGF secretion, and capillary-like tube formation. When implanted in vivo, the pre-established vascular networks in the hollow channel scaffolds anastomose with host vessels and exhibit accelerated vascular infiltration throughout the whole tissue construct, which provides timely and sufficient nutrients to ensure the survival of the transplanted stem cells. This tissue engineering strategy can promote the effective application of stem cell-based regeneration to improve future clinical applications. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Over the last decade, silk fibroin has been emergently used in peripheral nerve tissue engineering. Current approaches aiming to produce silk fibroin based nerve guidance conduits (SF-NGCs) used dissolved silk either based on aqueous solutions or organic solvents. In this study, we describe a novel procedure to produce SF-NGCs: a braided tubular structure of raw Bombyx mori silk is subsequently processed with the ternary solvent CaCl2/H2O/ethanol, formic acid and methanol to improve its mechanical and topographical characteristics. Topographically, the combination of the treatments results in a fusion of the outer single silk fibers to a closed layer with a thickness ranging from about 40 to 75 µm. In contrast to the outer wall, the inner lumen (not treated with processing solvents), still represents the braided structure of single fibers. Mechanical stability, elasticity and kink characteristics were evaluated with a custom-made test system. The here described modification procedure drastically improved the elastic properties of our tubular raw scaffold favoring its use as a NGC. A cell migration assay with NIH/3T3-fibroblasts revealed the impermeability of the SF-NGC wall for possible invading and scar-forming cells. Moreover, the potential of the SF-NGC to serve as substratum for Schwann cells has been demonstrated by cytotoxicity tests and live-dead stainings of Schwann cells grown on the inner surface of the SF-NGC. In vivo, the SF-NGC was tested in a rat sciatic nerve injury model. In short term in vivo studies it was proven that SF-NGCs are not triggering host inflammatory reactions. After 12 weeks we could demonstrate morphological and functional reinnervation of the distal targets. Filled with collagen, a higher number of axons could be found in the distal to the graft (1678±303), compared to the empty SF-NGC (1274±146). The novel SF-NGC presented here shows promising results for the treatment of peripheral nerve injuries. The modification of braided structures to adapt its mechanical and topographical characteristics may support the translation of SF-based scaffolds into the clinical setting. However, further improvements and the use of extracellular matrix molecules and Schwann cells are suggested to enable silk tube based conduits to bridge long distance nerve gaps.
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The skin is a highly sensitive organ. It is densely innervated with different types of sensory nerve endings, which discriminate between pain, temperature and touch. Autonomic nerve fibres which completely derive from sympathetic (cholinergic) neurons are also present. During all the phases of skin wound healing (inflammatory, proliferative and remodelling phases), neuromediators are involved. Several clinical observations indicate that damage to the peripheral nervous system influences wound healing, resulting in chronic wounds within the affected area. Patients with cutaneous sensory defects due to lepromatous leprosy, spinal cord injury and diabetic neuropathy develop ulcers that fail to heal. In addition, numerous experimental observations suggest that neurogenic stimuli profoundly affect wound repair after injury and that delayed wound healing is observed in animal models after surgical resection of cutaneous nerves. All these observations clearly suggest that innervation and neuromediators play a major role in wound healing. Interactions between neuromediators and different skin cells are certainly crucial in the healing process and ultimately the restoration of pain, temperature, and touch perceptions is a major challenge to solve in order to improve patients' quality of life.
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Neurovascular alignment is a common anatomical feature of organs, but the mechanisms leading to this arrangement are incompletely understood. Here, we show that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling profoundly affects both vascularization and innervation of the pancreatic islet. In mature islets, nerves are closely associated with capillaries, but the islet vascularization process during embryonic organogenesis significantly precedes islet innervation. Although a simple neuronal meshwork interconnects the developing islet clusters as they begin to form at E14.5, the substantial ingrowth of nerve fibers into islets occurs postnatally, when islet vascularization is already complete. Using genetic mouse models, we demonstrate that VEGF regulates islet innervation indirectly through its effects on intra-islet endothelial cells. Our data indicate that formation of a VEGF-directed, intra-islet vascular plexus is required for development of islet innervation, and that VEGF-induced islet hypervascularization leads to increased nerve fiber ingrowth. Transcriptome analysis of hypervascularized islets revealed an increased expression of extracellular matrix components and axon guidance molecules, with these transcripts being enriched in the islet-derived endothelial cell population. We propose a mechanism for coordinated neurovascular development within pancreatic islets, in which endocrine cell-derived VEGF directs the patterning of intra-islet capillaries during embryogenesis, forming a scaffold for the postnatal ingrowth of essential autonomic nerve fibers.
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Every day thousands of surgical procedures are performed to replace or repair tissue that has been damaged through disease or trauma. The developing field of tissue engineering (TE) aims to regenerate damaged tissues by combining cells from the body with highly porous scaffold biomaterials, which act as templates for tissue regeneration, to guide the growth of new tissue. This article describes the functional requirements, and types, of materials used in developing state of the art of scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. Furthermore, it describes the challenges and where future research and direction is required in this rapidly advancing field.
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The radical response of peripheral nerves to injury (Wallerian degeneration) is the cornerstone of nerve repair. We show that activation of the transcription factor c-Jun in Schwann cells is a global regulator of Wallerian degeneration. c-Jun governs major aspects of the injury response, determines the expression of trophic factors, adhesion molecules, the formation of regeneration tracks and myelin clearance and controls the distinctive regenerative potential of peripheral nerves. A key function of c-Jun is the activation of a repair program in Schwann cells and the creation of a cell specialized to support regeneration. We show that absence of c-Jun results in the formation of a dysfunctional repair cell, striking failure of functional recovery, and neuronal death. We conclude that a single glial transcription factor is essential for restoration of damaged nerves, acting to control the transdifferentiation of myelin and Remak Schwann cells to dedicated repair cells in damaged tissue.
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Following damage to peripheral nerves, a remarkable process of clearance and regeneration takes place. Axons downstream of the injury degenerate, while the nerve is remodeled to direct axonal regrowth. Schwann cells are important for this regenerative process. "Sensing" damaged axons, they dedifferentiate to a progenitor-like state, in which they aid nerve regeneration. Here, we demonstrate that activation of an inducible Raf-kinase transgene in myelinated Schwann cells is sufficient to control this plasticity by inducing severe demyelination in the absence of axonal damage, with the period of demyelination/ataxia determined by the duration of Raf activation. Remarkably, activation of Raf-kinase also induces much of the inflammatory response important for nerve repair, including breakdown of the blood-nerve barrier and the influx of inflammatory cells. This reversible in vivo model identifies a central role for ERK signaling in Schwann cells in orchestrating nerve repair and is a powerful system for studying peripheral neuropathies and cancer.
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The alternative SDF-1 (stromal cell derived factor-1) receptor, CXCR7, has been suggested to act as either a scavenger of extracellular SDF-1 or a modulator of the primary SDF-1 receptor, CXCR4. CXCR7, however, also directly affects the function of various tumor-cell types. Here, we demonstrate that CXCR7 is an active component of SDF-1 signalling in astrocytes and Schwann cells. Cultured cortical astrocytes and peripheral nerve Schwann cells exhibit comparable total and cell-surface levels of expression of both SDF-1 receptors. Stimulation of astrocytes with SDF-1 resulted in the temporary activation of Erk1/2, Akt and PKCzeta/lambda, but not p38 and PKCalpha/beta. Schwann cells showed SDF-1-induced activation of Erk1/2, Akt and p38, but not PKCalpha/beta and PKCzeta/lambda. The respective signalling pattern remained fully inducible in astrocytes from CXCR4-deficient mice, but was abrogated following depletion of astrocytic CXCR7 by RNAi. In Schwann cells, RNAi-mediated depletion of either CXCR4 or CXCR7 silenced SDF-1 signalling. The findings of the astrocytic receptor-depletion experiments were reproduced by CXCR7 antagonist CCX754, but not by CXCR4 antagonist AMD3100, both of which abolished astrocytic SDF-1 signalling. Further underlining the functional importance of CXCR7 signalling in glial cells, we show that the mitogenic effects of SDF-1 on both glial cell types are impaired upon depleting CXCR7.
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The pore structure of three-dimensional scaffolds used in tissue engineering has been shown to significantly influence cellular activity. As the optimal pore size is dependant on the specifics of the tissue engineering application, the ability to alter the pore size over a wide range is essential for a particular scaffold to be suitable for multiple applications. With this in mind, the aim of this study was to develop methodologies to produce a range of collagen-glycosaminoglycan (CG) scaffolds with tailored mean pore sizes. The pore size of CG scaffolds is established during the freeze-drying fabrication process. In this study, freezing temperature was varied (−10 degrees C to −70 degrees C) and an annealing step was introduced to the process to determine their effects on pore size. Annealing is an additional step in the freeze-drying cycle that involves raising the temperature of the frozen suspension to increase the rate of ice crystal growth. The results show that the pore size of the scaffolds decreased as the freezing temperature was reduced. Additionally, the introduction of an annealing step during freeze-drying was found to result in a significant increase (40%) in pore size. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the methodologies developed in this study can be used to produce a range of CG scaffolds with mean pore sizes from 85 to 325 microm. This is a substantial improvement on the range of pore sizes that were possible to produce previously (96-150 microm). The methods developed in this study provide a basis for the investigation of the effects of pore size on both in vitro and in vivo performance and for the determination of the optimal pore structure for specific tissue engineering applications.
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Cultured rat Schwann cells were stimulated to deposit fibrillar extracellular matrix by treatment with ascorbic acid in the absence of nerve cells. Immunofluoresence staining of the matrix showed that it contains collagens types I and IV, fibronectin and perlecan but not laminin. Collagen type IV, fibronectin and perlecan co-distributed completely in the matrix fibrils, whereas collagen type I was present in only a subset of these fibrils. Time course studies indicated that collagen type I fibrils appear at late stages of matrix formation. Digestion of Schwann cell extracellular matrix with collagenase effectively disrupted most of the matrix including fibronectin fibrils. This was in contrast with fibroblasts, where collagenase treatment removed collagen with no visible effect on fibronectin fibrils. alpha5 integrin was expressed on the cell surface of Schwann cells and partially codistributed with fibronectin-containing fibrils. This suggests that the inability of Schwann cells to deposit fibronectin-containing matrix through a conventional, collagen-independent mechanism was not due to the lack of fibronectin-binding integrins on their cell surface. Polyclonal anti-fibronectin antibodies inhibited the deposition of fibronectin into the matrix fibrils, whereas collagen type IV fibrils were generally unaffected. Growth of Schwann cells on collagen type IV-coated substrate in the absence of ascorbate induced deposition of fine fibronectin fibrils. These results suggest that Schwann cells use an apparently novel, collagen type IV-dependent mechanism for the deposition of fibronectin into their extracellular matrix.
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Laminins are important for Schwann cell basement membrane assembly and axonal function. In this study, we found that exogenous laminin-1, like neuromuscular laminins-2/4, formed two distinct extracellular matrices on Schwann cell surfaces, each facilitated by laminin polymerization. Assembly of one, a densely-distributed reticular matrix, was accompanied by a redistribution of cell-surface dystroglycan and cytoskeletal utrophin into matrix-receptor-cytoskeletal complexes. The other, a fibrillar matrix, accumulated in separate zones associated with pre-existing beta1-integrin arrays. The laminin-1 fragment E3 (LG-modules 4-5), which binds dystroglycan and heparin, inhibited reticular-matrix formation. By contrast, beta1-integrin blocking antibody (Ha2/5) prevented fibrillar assembly. Ultrastructural analysis revealed that laminin treatment induced the formation of a linear electron-dense extracellular matrix (lamina densa) separated from plasma membrane by a narrow lucent zone (lamina lucida). This structure was considerably reduced with non-polymerizing laminin, fully blocked by E3, and unaffected by Ha2/5. Although it formed in the absence of type IV collagen, it was nonetheless able to incorporate this collagen. Finally, cell competency to bind laminin and form a basement membrane was passage-dependent. We postulate that laminin induces the assembly of a basement membrane on competent cell surfaces probably mediated by anchorage through LG 4-5. Upon binding, laminin interacts with dystroglycan, mobilizes utrophin, and assembles a 'nascent' basement membrane, independent of integrin, that is completed by incorporation of type IV collagen. However, the fibrillar beta1-integrin dependent matrix is unlikely to be precursor to basement membrane.
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Schwann cells (SCs) play a crucially supportive role in repair of injured peripheral nerve system (PNS). CXCL12 plays a significant role in migration of stem cells and embryonic developmental cells and CXCL12 is strongly chemotactic for a variety of cells. Our study was designed to determine the role of CXCL12 in Schwann cell proliferation and migration. Our study demonstrated that CXCL12 had no effect on Schwann cell proliferation while significantly promoting Schwann cell migration. CXCL12-induced Schwann cell migration was significantly attenuated by inhibition of its receptor CXCR4 and p38 MAPK through co-treatment with AMD3100 and SB203580, separately. Besides, Western blot, QRT-PCR, and ELISA indicated that treatment with CXCL12 enhanced expression of CXCL12 by Schwann cells. In conclusion, CXCL12-enhanced SCs migration is mediated by secreting CXCL12 and p38 MAPK via receptor CXCR4, suggesting that CXCL12 has potential application value for PNS regeneration and could serve as a new therapeutic strategy in peripheral nerve diseases.
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It is increasingly being recognised within the field of tissue engineering that the regenerative capacity of biomaterial scaffolds can be augmented via the incorporation of gene therapeutics. However, the field still lacks a biocompatible gene delivery vector which is capable of functionalizing scaffolds for tailored nucleic acid delivery. Herein, we describe a versatile, collagen based, gene-activated scaffold platform which can transfect autologous host cells in vivo via incorporation of star-shaped poly(˪-lysine) polypeptides (star-PLLs) and a plasmid DNA (pDNA) cargo. Two star-PLL vectors with varying number and length of poly(˪-lysine) arms were assessed. In vitro, the functionalization of a range of collagen based scaffolds containing either glycosaminoglycans (chondroitin sulfate or hyaluronic acid) or ceramics (hydroxyapatite or nano-hydroxyapatite) with star-PLL-pDNA nanomedicines facilitated prolonged, non-toxic transgene expression by mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). We demonstrate that the star-PLL structure confers enhanced spatiotemporal control of nanomedicine release from functionalized scaffolds over a 28-day period compared to naked pDNA. Furthermore, we identify a star-PLL composition with 64 poly(˪-lysine) arms and 5 (˪-lysine) subunits per arm as a particularly effective vector, capable of facilitating a 2-fold increase in reporter transgene expression compared to the widely used vector polyethylenimine (PEI), a 44-fold increase compared to a 32 poly(˪-lysine) armed star-PLL and a 130-fold increase compared to its linear analogue, linear poly(˪-lysine) (L-PLL) from a collagen-chondroitin sulfate gene activated scaffold. In an in vivo subcutaneous implant model, star-PLL-pDNA gene activated scaffolds which were implanted cell-free exhibited extensive infiltration of autologous host cells, nanomedicine retention within the implanted construct and successful host cell transfection at the very early time point of just seven days. Overall, this article illustrates for the first time the significant ability of the star-PLL polymeric structure to transfect autologous host cells in vivo from an implanted biomaterial scaffold thereby forming a versatile platform with potential in numerous tissue engineering applications.
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Ensuring an adequate angiogenic response during wound healing is a prevailing clinical challenge in biomaterials science. To address this, we aimed to develop a pro-angiogenic gene-activated scaffold (GAS) that could activate MSCs to produce paracrine factors and influence angiogenesis and wound repair. A non-viral polyethyleneimine (PEI) nanoparticles carrying a gene encoding for stromal derived factor-1 alpha (SDF-1α) was combined with a collagen-chondroitin sulfate scaffold to produce the GAS. The ability of this platform to enhance the angiogenic potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) was then assessed. We found that the MSCs on GAS exhibited early over-expression of SDF-1α mRNA with the activation of angiogenic markers VEGF and CXCR4. Exposing endothelial cells to conditioned media collected from GAS supported MSCs promoted a 20% increase in viability and 33% increase in tubule formation (p<0.05). Furthermore, the conditioned media promoted a 50% increase in endothelial cell migration and wound closure (p<0.005). Gene expression analysis of the endothelial cells revealed that the functional response was associated with up-regulation of angiogenic genes; VEGF, CXCR4, eNOS and SDF-1α. Overall, this study shows collagen-based scaffolds combined with SDF-1α gene therapy can provide enhanced pro-angiogenic response, suggesting a promising approach to overcome poor vasculature during wound healing.
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Schwann cell c-Jun is implicated in adaptive and maladaptive functions in peripheral nerves. In injured nerves, this transcription factor promotes the repair Schwann cell phenotype and regeneration and promotes Schwann-cell-mediated neurotrophic support in models of peripheral neuropathies. However, c-Jun is associated with tumor formation in some systems, potentially suppresses myelin genes, and has been implicated in demyelinating neuropathies. To clarify these issues and to determine how c-Jun levels determine its function, we have generated c-Jun OE/+ and c-Jun OE/OE mice with graded expression of c-Jun in Schwann cells and examined these lines during development, in adulthood, and after injury using RNA sequencing analysis, quantitative electron microscopic morphometry, Western blotting, and functional tests. Schwann cells are remarkably tolerant of elevated c-Jun because the nerves of c-Jun OE/+ mice, in which c-Jun is elevated ∼6-fold, are normal with the exception of modestly reduced myelin thickness. The stronger elevation of c-Jun in c-Jun OE/OE mice is, however, sufficient to induce significant hypomyelination pathology, implicating c-Jun as a potential player in demyelinating neuropathies. The tumor suppressor P19ARF is strongly activated in the nerves of these mice and, even in aged c-Jun OE/OE mice, there is no evidence of tumors. This is consistent with the fact that tumors do not form in injured nerves, although they contain proliferating Schwann cells with strikingly elevated c-Jun. Furthermore, in crushed nerves of c-Jun OE/+ mice, where c-Jun levels are overexpressed sufficiently to accelerate axonal regeneration, myelination and function are restored after injury.
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The CXC chemokine CXCL12 is an important factor in physiological and pathological processes, including embryogenesis, hematopoiesis, angiogenesis and inflammation, because it activates and/or induces migration of hematopoietic progenitor and stem cells, endothelial cells and most leukocytes. Therefore, CXCL12 activity is tightly regulated at multiple levels. CXCL12 has the unique property of existing in six splice variants in humans, each having a specific tissue distribution and in vivo activity. Controlled splice variant transcription and mRNA stability determine the CXCL12 expression profile. CXCL12 fulfills its functions in homeostatic and pathological conditions by interacting with its receptors CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) and atypical chemokine receptor 3 (ACKR3) and by binding to glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in tissues and on the endothelium to allow a proper presentation to passing leukocytes. Homodimerizaton and heterodimerization of CXCL12 and its receptors can alter their signaling activity, as exemplified by the synergy between CXCL12 and other chemokines in leukocyte migration assays. Receptor binding may also initiate CXCL12 internalization and its subsequent removal from the environment. Furthermore, CXCL12 activity is regulated by posttranslational modifications. Proteolytic removal of NH2- or COOH-terminal amino acids, citrullination of arginine residues by peptidyl arginine deiminases or nitration of tyrosine residues reduce CXCL12 activity. This review summarizes the interactions of CXCL12 with the cellular environment and discusses the different levels of CXCL12 activity regulation.
Poster
Background: After nerve injury, Schwann cells convert to a phenotype specialised to promote repair [1]. But during the slow process of axonal regrowth, these repair Schwann cells gradually lose their regeneration-supportive features and eventually die. Question: Although the deterioration of repair Schwann cells is a key reason for the frequent regeneration failures in humans, the transcriptional mechanisms that control long-term survival and phenotype of repair cells have not been studied, and the molecular signalling underlying their decline is obscure. Results: We show, in mice, that Schwann cell STAT3 has a dual role. It supports the long-term survival of repair Schwann cells and is required for the maintenance of repair Schwann cell properties. In contrast, STAT3 is less important for the initial generation of repair Schwann cells after injury. In repair Schwann cells, we find that Schwann cell STAT3 activation by Tyr705 phosphorylation is sustained during long-term denervation. STAT3 is required for maintaining autocrine Schwann cell survival signalling, and inactivation of Schwann cell STAT3 results in a striking loss of repair cells from chronically denervated distal stumps. STAT3 inactivation also results in abnormal morphology of repair cells and regeneration tracks, and failure to sustain expression of repair cell markers, including Shh, GDNF and BDNF. Since Schwann cell development proceeds normally without STAT3, the function of this factor appears restricted to Schwann cells after injury. Conclusion: We suggest that while c-Jun is required for the initial generation of repair Schwann cell [2], STAT3 is required for the prolonged maintenance of the repair phenotype and for the long-term survival of the Bungner repair cells. The identification of transcriptional mechanisms that support long-term survival and differentiation of repair cells will help identify, and eventually correct, the failures that lead to the deterioration of this important cell population.
Article
The current study aimed to enhance the efficacy of peripheral nerve regeneration using an electrically conductive biodegradable porous neural guidance conduit for transplantation of allogeneic Schwann cells (SCs). The conduit was produced from polylactic acid (PLA), multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), and gelatin nanofibrils (GNFs) coated with the recombinant human erythropoietin-loaded chitosan nanoparticles (rhEpo-CNPs). The PLA/MWCNTs/GNFs/rhEpo-CNPs conduit had the porosity of 85.78 ± 0.70%, the contact angle of 77.65 ± 1.91° and the ultimate tensile strength and compressive modulus of 5.51 ± 0.13 MPa and 2.66 ± 0.34 MPa, respectively. The conduit showed the electrical conductivity of 0.32 S cm(-1) and lost about 11% of its weight after 60 days in normal saline. The produced conduit was able to release the rhEpo for at least 2 weeks and exhibited favorable cytocompatibility towards SCs. For functional analysis, the conduit was seeded with 1.5 × 10(4) SCs and implanted into a 10 mm sciatic nerve defect of Wistar rat. After 14 weeks, the results of sciatic functional index, hot plate latency, compound muscle action potential amplitude, weight-loss percentage of wet gastrocnemius muscle and Histopathological examination using hematoxylin-eosin and Luxol fast blue staining demonstrated that the produced conduit had comparable nerve regeneration to the autograft, as the gold standard to bridge the nerve gaps. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 2017.
Article
To develop an effective nerve guidance conduit with cooperated effect of topological structure and biological cues for promoting Schwann cells (SCs) proliferation and migration, a laminin-coated and yarn-encapsulated poly(L-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) nerve guidance conduit (LC-YE-PLGA NGC) was fabricated in this study. The PLGA fiber yarns were fabricated by a double-nozzle electrospinning system and then the PLGA fibrous outer layer was collected by the general electrospinning method. Subsequently, laminin was coated on the LC-YE-PLGA NGC through covalent binding. The results showed satisfactory tensile mechanical strength of the laminin-coated PLGA fibers/yarns and good compressive mechanical support of the LC-YE-PLGA NGC. SCs proliferation was significantly superior (p < 0.05) on the PLGA and laminin-coated PLGA yarns than the PLGA fibers. Furthermore, the LC-YE-PLGA NGC performed much better in SCs migration compared with the NGCs without yarn-encapsulation or laminin-coating, indicating the synergistic effect of three-dimensional yarn structure (topological structure) and laminin-coating (biological cues) for SCs proliferation and migration. Therefore, the LC-YE-PLGA NGC provided a promising potential in promoting SCs proliferation and inducing SCs migration in nerve tissue engineering.
Article
Background The major advantage in choosing non-viral vectors such as cationic polymers for in vitro and in vivo transfection is their higher biosafety than viral ones. Among the cationic polymers, polyethylenimines (PEIs) are promising molecules for gene delivery to a variety of cells. Efficient transfection of primary endothelial cells using PEIs could be regarded as an interesting strategy of treatment in some ischemic cardiovascular diseases.
Article
Nerve injury triggers the conversion of myelin and non-myelin (Remak) Schwann cells to a cell phenotype specialised to promote repair. Distal to damage, these repair Schwann cells provide the necessary signals and spatial cues for the survival of injured neurons, axonal regeneration and target reinnervation. The conversion to repair Schwann cells involves de-differentiation together with alternative differentiation, or activation, a combination that is typical of cell type conversions often referred to as (direct or lineage) reprogramming. Thus, injury-induced Schwann cell reprogramming involves down-regulation of myelin genes combined with activation of set of repair-supportive features, including up-regulation of trophic factors, elevation of cytokines as part of the innate immune response, myelin clearance by activation of myelin autophagy in Schwann cells and macrophage recruitment, and the formation of regeneration tracks, Bungner's bands, for directing axons to their targets. This repair program is controlled transcriptionally by mechanisms involving the transcription factor c-Jun, which is rapidly up-regulated in Schwann cells after injury. In the absence of c-Jun, damage results in the formation of a dysfunctional repair cell, neuronal death and failure of functional recovery. c-Jun, although not required for Schwann cell development, is therefore central to the reprogramming of myelin and non-myelin (Remak) Schwann cells to repair cells after injury. In future, the signalling that specifies this cell requires further analysis so that pharmacological tools that boost and maintain the repair Schwann cell phenotype can be developed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
As well as acting to fill defects and allow for cell infiltration and proliferation in regenerative medicine, biomaterial scaffolds can also act as carriers for therapeutics, further enhancing their efficacy. Drug and protein delivery on scaffolds have shown potential, however, supraphysiological quantities of therapeutic are often released at the defect site, causing off-target side effects and cytotoxicity. Gene therapy involves the introduction of foreign genes into a cell in order to exert an effect; either replacing a missing gene or modulating expression of a protein. State of the art gene therapy also encompasses manipulation of the transcriptome by harnessing RNA interference (RNAi) therapy. The delivery of nucleic acid nanomedicines on biomaterial scaffolds - gene-activated scaffolds -has shown potential for use in a variety of tissue engineering applications, but as of yet, have not reached clinical use. The current state of the art in terms of biomaterial scaffolds and delivery vector materials for gene therapy is reviewed, and the limitations of current procedures discussed. Future directions in the clinical translation of gene-activated scaffolds are also considered, with a particular focus on bone and cartilage tissue regeneration.
Article
Individuals with diabetes mellitus are at an increased risk of developing a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU). This study evaluated the safety and efficacy of Integra® Dermal Regeneration Template (IDRT) for the treatment of non-healing DFUs. The FOot Ulcer New DErmal Replacement (FOUNDER) Study was a multi-center, randomized, controlled, parallel group clinical trial conducted under an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE). Thirty-two sites enrolled and randomized 307 subjects with at least one DFU. Consented patients were entered into the 14-day run-in phase where they were treated with the standard of care (0.9% sodium chloride gel) plus a secondary dressing and an offloading/protective device. Patients with less than 30% re-epithelialization of the study ulcer after the run-in phase were randomized into the treatment phase. The subjects were randomized to the control treatment group (0.9% sodium chloride gel; n = 153) or the active treatment group (IDRT, n = 154). The treatment phase was 16 weeks or until confirmation of complete wound closure (100% re-epithelialization of the wound surface), whichever occurred first. Following the treatment phase, all subjects were followed for 12 weeks. Complete DFU closure during the treatment phase was significantly greater with IDRT treatment (51%) than control treatment (32%; p=0.001) at sixteen weeks. The median time to complete DFU closure was 43 days for IDRT subjects and 78 days for control subjects in wounds that healed. The rate of wound size reduction was 7.2% per week for IDRT subjects versus 4.8% per week for control subjects (p=0.012). For the treatment of chronic DFUs, IDRT treatment decreased the time to complete wound closure, increased the rate of wound closure, improved components of quality of life and had less adverse events compared to the standard of care treatment. IDRT could greatly enhance the treatment of non-healing DFUs. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
Biomaterial scaffolds that support cell infiltration and tissue formation can also function as platforms for the delivery of therapeutics such as drugs, proteins and genes. As burst release of supraphysiological quantities of recombinant proteins can result in adverse side effects, the objective of this study was to explore the potential of a series of collagen-based scaffolds, developed in our laboratory, as gene-activated scaffold platforms with potential in a range of tissue engineering applications. The potential of chitosan, a biocompatible material derived from the shells of crustaceans, as a gene delivery vector was assessed using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). A transfection efficiency of >45% is reported which is similar to what is achieved with polyethyleneimine (PEI), a non-viral gold standard vector, without causing cytotoxic side effects. When the optimised chitosan nanoparticles were incorporated into a series of collagen-based scaffolds, sustained transgene expression from MSCs seeded on the scaffolds was maintained for up to 28days and interestingly the composition of the scaffold had an effect on transfection efficiency. These results demonstrate that by simply varying the scaffold composition and the gene (or combinations thereof) chosen; the system has potential for a myriad of therapeutic applications. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Article
Peripheral nerves contain large myelinated and small unmyelinated (Remak) fibers that perform different functions. The choice to myelinate or not is dictated to Schwann cells by the axon itself, based on the amount of neuregulin I-type III exposed on its membrane. Peripheral axons are more important in determining the final myelination fate than central axons, and the implications for this difference in Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes are discussed. Interestingly, this choice is reversible during pathology, accounting for the remarkable plasticity of Schwann cells, and contributing to the regenerative potential of the peripheral nervous system. Radial sorting is the process by which Schwann cells choose larger axons to myelinate during development. This crucial morphogenetic step is a prerequisite for myelination and for differentiation of Remak fibers, and is arrested in human diseases due to mutations in genes coding for extracellular matrix and linkage molecules. In this review we will summarize progresses made in the last years by a flurry of reverse genetic experiments in mice and fish. This work revealed novel molecules that control radial sorting, and contributed unexpected ideas to our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control radial sorting of axons. © The Author(s) 2015.
Article
Epidermal stem cells could contribute to skin repair through the migration of cells from the neighboring uninjured epidermis, infundibulum, hair follicle, or sebaceous gland. However, little is known about the factors responsible for the complex biological processes in wound healing. Herein, we will show that the attracting chemokine, SDF-1/CXCR4, is a major regulator involved in the migration of epidermal stem cells during wound repair. We found that the SDF-1 levels were markedly increased at the wound margins following injury and CXCR4 expressed in epidermal stem cells and proliferating epithelial cells. Blocking the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis resulted in a significant reduction in epidermal stem cell migration toward SDF-1 in vitro and delayed wound healing in vivo, while an SDF-1 treatment enhanced epidermal stem cell migration and proliferation and accelerated wound healing. These results provide direct evidence that SDF-1 promotes epidermal stem cell migration, accelerates skin regeneration, and makes the development of new regenerative therapeutic strategies for wound healing possible.
Article
Vascularization and bone repair are accelerated by a series of gene-activated scaffolds delivering both an angiogenic and an osteogenic gene. Stem cell-mediated osteogenesis in vitro, in addition to increased vascularization and bone repair by host cells in vivo, is enhanced using all systems while the use of the nanohydroxyapatite vector to deliver both genes markedly enhances bone healing.
Article
Abstract Stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) and its membrane receptor C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) are involved in the homing and migration of multiple stem cell types, neovascularization, and cell proliferation. This study investigated the hypothesis that bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) accelerate skin wound healing in the mouse model by overexpression of CXCR4 in BMSCs. We compared SDF-1 expression and skin wound healing times of BALB/c mice, severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice, and immune system-deficient nude mice after (60)Co radiation-induced injury of their bone marrow. The occurrence of transplanted adenovirus-transfected CXCR4-overexpressing male BMSCs in the wound area was compared with the occurrence of untransfected male BALB/c BMSCs in (60)Co-irradiated female mice skin wound healing areas by Y chromosome marker analyses. The wound healing time of BALB/c mice was 14.00±1.41 days, whereas for the nude and SCID mice it was 17.16±1.17 days and 19.83±0.76 days, respectively. Male BMSCs could be detected in the surrounding areas of (60)Co-irradiated female BALB/c mice wounds, and CXCR4-overexpressing BMSCs accelerated the wound healing time. CXCR4-overexpressing BMSCs migrate in an enhanced manner to skin wounds in a SDF-1-expression-dependent manner, thereby reducing the skin wound healing time.
Article
Laminins promote early stages of peripheral nerve myelination by assembling basement membranes (BMs) on Schwann cell surfaces, leading to activation of β1-integrins and other receptors. The BM composition, structural bonds and ligands needed to mediate this process, however, are not well understood. A mouse hypomorphic for laminin γ1-subunit expression that assembled endoneurial BMs with reduced component density exhibited an axonal sorting defect with amyelination but normal Schwann cell proliferation, the latter unlike the null. To identify the basis for this, and to dissect participating laminin interactions, Lamc1 gene-inactivated dorsal root ganglia were treated with recombinant laminins-211 and -111 lacking different architecture-forming and receptor-binding activities to induce myelination. Myelin-wrapping of axons by Schwann cells was found to require higher laminin concentrations than either proliferation or axonal ensheathment. Laminins that were unable to polymerize through deletions that removed critical LN-domains, or that lacked cell-adhesive LG-domains, caused reduced BMs and nearly absent myelination. Laminins engineered to bind weakly to α6β1 and/or α7β1 integrins through their LG-domains, even though they could effectively assemble BMs, decreased myelination. Proliferation depended upon both integrin-binding to LG domains and polymerization. Collectively these findings reveal that laminins integrate scaffold-forming and cell-adhesion activities to assemble an endoneurial BM, with myelination and proliferation requiring additional α6β1/α7β1-laminin LG-domain interactions, and that a high BM ligand/structural-density is needed for efficient myelination.
Article
The healing potential of scaffolds for tissue engineering can be enhanced by combining them with genes to produce gene-activated matrices (GAMs) for tissue regeneration. We examined the potential of using polyethyleneimine (PEI) as a vector for transfection of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in monolayer culture and in 3D collagen-based GAMs. PEI-pDNA polyplexes were fabricated at a range of N/P ratios and their optimal transfection parameters (N/P 7 ratio, 2μg dose) and transfection efficiencies (30±8%) determined in monolayer culture. The polyplexes were then loaded onto collagen, collagen-glycosaminoglycan and collagen-nanohydroxyapatite scaffolds where gene expression was observed up to 21 days with a polyplex dose as low as 2μg. Transient expression profiles indicated that the GAMs act as a polyplex depot system whereby infiltrating cells become transfected over time as they migrate throughout the scaffold. The collagen-nHa GAM exhibited the most prolonged and elevated levels of transgene expression. This research has thus demonstrated that PEI is a highly efficient pDNA transfection agent for both MSC monolayer cultures and in the 3D GAM environment. By combining therapeutic gene therapy with highly engineered scaffolds, it is proposed that these GAMs might have immense capability to promote tissue regeneration.
Article
While dermal substitutes can mitigate scarring and wound contraction, a significant drawback of current dermal replacement technologies is the apparent delay in vascular ingrowth compared with conventional skin grafts. Herein, we examined the effect of the chemokine stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) on the performance of a porous collagen-glycosaminoglycan dermal analog in excisional wounds in mice. C57BL/6 mice with 1 cm × 1 cm dorsal full-thickness wounds were covered with a collagen-glycosaminoglycan scaffold, followed by four daily topical applications of 1 μg SDF-1 or phosphate-buffered saline vehicle. Some animals were also pretreated with five daily doses of 300 mg/kg granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. Animals treated with SDF-1 and no granulocyte colony-stimulating factor reepithelialized 36% faster than vehicle controls (16 vs. 25 days), and exhibited less wound contraction on postwounding day 18 (∼ 35% greater wound area) plus three-fold longer neoepidermis formed than controls. Conversely, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor promoted contraction and no epidermal regeneration. Early (postwounding Day 3) inflammatory cell infiltration in the SDF-1-treated group was 86% less, while the fraction of proliferating cells (positive Ki67 staining) was 32% more, when compared with controls. These results suggest that SDF-1 simultaneously delays contraction and promotes reepithelialization and may improve the wound-healing performance of skin substitutes.
Article
Collagen-chondroitin sulfate biomaterial scaffolds have been used in a number of tissue-engineered products under development or in the clinics. In this article, we describe a new approach based on centrifugation for obtaining highly concentrated yet porous collagen scaffolds. Water uptake, chondroitin sulfate retention, morphology, mechanical properties, and tissue-engineering potential of the concentrated scaffolds were investigated. Our results show that the new approach can lead to scaffolds containing four times as much collagen as that in conventional unconcentrated scaffolds. Further, water uptake in the concentrated scaffolds was significantly greater while chondroitin sulfate retention in the concentrated scaffolds was unaffected. The value of mean pore diameter in the concentrated scaffolds was smaller than that in the unconcentrated scaffolds and the walls of the pores in the former comprised of a continuous sheet of collagen. The mechanical properties measured as moduli of elasticity in compression and tension were improved by as much as 30 times in the concentrated scaffolds. In addition, our tissue culture results with human mesenchymal stem cells and foreskin keratinocytes show that the new scaffolds can be used for cartilage and skin tissue-engineering applications.
Article
The incorporation of Schwann cells in reconstructed skin (RS) could have a major role in achieving functional recovery of cutaneous sensory perception. We showed with a unique in vitro model of a tissue-engineered innervated reconstructed dermis that Schwann cells promoted a twofold increase in the number of sensory neurites migrating in the three-dimensional tissue as compared with the control. In addition, Schwann cells spontaneously colocalized along neurites and achieved the formation of myelin sheaths in vitro as assessed by transmission electron microscopy. We prepared RS samples enriched or not with Schwann cells and transplanted them on nude mice for 60-90 days. We demonstrated that Schwann cells induced a 1.8- and 1.7-fold increase in the number of nerve fibers migrating in the graft 60 and 90 days after transplantation, respectively. In addition, the RS sample enriched with Schwann cells had a current perception threshold similar to that of normal skin for the large and myelinated Abeta-sensory fibers, in contrast with the control. Thus, we showed that the addition of Schwann cells to tissue-engineered skin not only enhanced nerve migration but also promoted myelin sheath formation in vitro and nerve function recovery in vivo.
Article
Development of the peripheral nervous system requires radial axonal sorting by Schwann cells (SCs). To accomplish sorting, SCs must both proliferate and undergo morphogenetic changes such as process extension. Signaling studies reveal pathways that control either proliferation or morphogenesis, and laminin is essential for SC proliferation. However, it is not clear whether laminin is also required for SC morphogenesis. By using a novel time-lapse live-cell-imaging technique, we demonstrated that laminins are required for SCs to form a bipolar shape as well as for process extension. These morphological deficits are accompanied by alterations in signaling pathways. Phosphorylation of Schwannomin at serine 518 and activation of Rho GTPase Cdc42 and Rac1 were all significantly decreased in SCs lacking laminins. Inhibiting Rac1 and/or Cdc42 activities in cultured SCs attenuated laminin-induced myelination, whereas forced activation of Rac1 and/or Cdc42 in vivo improved sorting and hypomyelinating phenotypes in SCs lacking laminins. These findings indicate that laminins play a pivotal role in regulating SC cytoskeletal signaling. Coupled with previous results demonstrating that laminin is critical for SC proliferation, this work identifies laminin signaling as a central regulator coordinating the processes of proliferation and morphogenesis in radial axonal sorting.
Article
Laminins and collagens are extracellular matrix proteins that play essential roles in peripheral nervous system development. Laminin signals regulate Schwann cell proliferation and survival as well as actin cytoskeleton dynamics, which are essential steps for radial sorting and myelination of peripheral axons by Schwann cells. Collagen and their receptors promote Schwann cell adhesion, spreading, and myelination as well as neurite outgrowth. In this article, we will review the recent advances in the studies of laminin and collagen function in Schwann cell development.
Article
Cultured skin substitutes have been used as adjunctive therapies in the treatment of burns and chronic wounds, but they are limited by lack of a vascular plexus. This deficiency leads to greater time for vascularization compared with native skin autografts and contributes to graft failure. Genetic modification of cultured skin substitutes to enhance vascularization could hypothetically lead to improved wound healing. To address this hypothesis, human keratinocytes were genetically modified by transduction with a replication incompetent retrovirus to overexpress vascular endothelial growth factor, a specific and potent mitogen for endothelial cells. Cultured skin substitutes consisting of collagen-glycosaminoglycan substrates inoculated with human fibroblasts and either vascular endothelial growth factor-modified or control keratinocytes were prepared, and were cultured in vitro for 21 d. Northern blot analysis demonstrated enhanced expression of vascular endothelial growth factor mRNA in genetically modified keratinocytes and in cultured skin substitutes prepared with modified cells. Furthermore, the vascular endothelial growth factor-modified cultured skin substitutes secreted greatly elevated levels of vascular endothelial growth factor protein throughout the entire culture period. The bioactivity of vascular endothelial growth factor protein secreted by the genetically modified cultured skin substitutes was demonstrated using a microvascular endothelial cell growth assay. Vascular endothelial growth factor-modified and control cultured skin substitutes were grafted to full-thickness wounds on athymic mice, and elevated vascular endothelial growth factor mRNA expression was detected in the modified grafts for at least 2 wk after surgery. Vascular endothelial growth factor-modified grafts exhibited increased numbers of dermal blood vessels and decreased time to vascularization compared with controls. These results indicate that genetic modification of keratinocytes in cultured skin substitutes can lead to increased vascular endothelial growth factor expression, which could prospectively improve vascularization of cultured skin substitutes for wound healing applications.
Article
The two most commonly used methods to analyze data from real-time, quantitative PCR experiments are absolute quantification and relative quantification. Absolute quantification determines the input copy number, usually by relating the PCR signal to a standard curve. Relative quantification relates the PCR signal of the target transcript in a treatment group to that of another sample such as an untreated control. The 2(-Delta Delta C(T)) method is a convenient way to analyze the relative changes in gene expression from real-time quantitative PCR experiments. The purpose of this report is to present the derivation, assumptions, and applications of the 2(-Delta Delta C(T)) method. In addition, we present the derivation and applications of two variations of the 2(-Delta Delta C(T)) method that may be useful in the analysis of real-time, quantitative PCR data.
Article
Laminins are heterotrimeric extracellular matrix proteins that regulate cell viability and function. Laminin-2, composed of alpha2, beta1, and gamma1 chains, is a major matrix component of the peripheral nervous system (PNS). To investigate the role of laminin in the PNS, we used the Cre-loxP system to disrupt the laminin gamma1 gene in Schwann cells. These mice have dramatically reduced expression of laminin gamma1 in Schwann cells, which results in a similar reduction in laminin alpha2 and beta1 chains. These mice exhibit motor defects which lead to hind leg paralysis and tremor. During development, Schwann cells that lack laminin gamma1 were present in peripheral nerves, and proliferated and underwent apoptosis similar to control mice. However, they were unable to differentiate and synthesize myelin proteins, and therefore unable to sort and myelinate axons. In mutant mice, after sciatic nerve crush, the axons showed impaired regeneration. These experiments demonstrate that laminin is an essential component for axon myelination and regeneration in the PNS.