Quantitative FFPE Histopathology of Wound Healing in Mice using Special Stains

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Complex dermal wounds represent major medical and financial burdens, especially in the context of comorbidities such as diabetes, infection and advanced age. New approaches to accelerate and improve, or "fine tune" the healing process, so as to improve the quality of cutaneous wound healing and management, are the focus of intense investigation. Here, we investigate the topical application of a recombinant immune modulating protein which inhibits the interactions of chemokines with glycosaminoglycans, reducing damaging or excess inflammation responses in a splinted full-thickness excisional wound model in mice. M-T7 is a 37 kDa-secreted, virus-derived glycoprotein that has demonstrated therapeutic efficacy in numerous animal models of inflammatory immunopathology. Topical treatment with recombinant M-T7 significantly accelerated wound healing when compared to saline treatment alone. Healed wounds exhibited properties of improved tissue remodeling, as determined by collagen maturation. M-T7 treatment accelerated the rate of peri-wound angiogenesis in the healing wounds with increased levels of TNF, VEGF and CD31. The immune cell response after M-T7 treatment was associated with a retention of CCL2 levels, and increased abundances of arginase-1-expressing M2 macrophages and CD4 T cells. Thus, topical treatment with recombinant M-T7 promotes a pro-resolution environment in healing wounds, and has potential as a novel treatment approach for cutaneous tissue repair.
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Numerous treatments have been developed to promote wound healing based on current understandings of the healing process. Hemorrhaging, clotting, and associated inflammation regulate early wound healing. We investigated treatment with a virus-derived immune modulating serine protease inhibitor (SERPIN), Serp-1, which inhibits thrombolytic proteases and inflammation, in a mouse excisional wound model. Saline or recombinant Serp-1 were applied directly to wounds as single doses of 1 μg or 2 µg or as two 1 µg boluses. A chitosan-collagen hydrogel was also tested for Serp-1 delivery. Wound size was measured daily for 15 days and scarring assessed by Masson’s trichrome, Herovici’s staining, and immune cell dynamics and angiogenesis by immunohistochemistry. Serp-1 treatment significantly accelerated wound healing, but was blocked by urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPAR) antibody. Repeated dosing at a lower concentration was more effective than single high-dose serpin. A single application of Serp-1-loaded chitosan-collagen hydrogel was as effective as repeated aqueous Serp-1 dosing. Serp-1 treatment of wounds increased arginase-1-expressing M2-polarized macrophage counts and periwound angiogenesis in the wound bed. Collagen staining also demonstrated that Serp-1 improves collagen maturation and organization at the wound site. Serp-1 has potential as a safe and effective immune modulating treatment that targets thrombolytic proteases, accelerating healing and reducing scar in deep cutaneous wounds.
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Microtubules (MTs) are intracellular polymers that provide structure to the cell, serve as railways for intracellular transport, and regulate many cellular activities, including cell migration. The dynamicity and function of the MT cytoskeleton are determined in large part by its regulatory proteins, including the recently discovered MT severing enzyme Fidgetin-like 2 (FL2). Downregulation of FL2 expression with small interfering RNA (siRNA) results in a more than twofold increase in cell migration rate in vitro as well as translates into improved wound-healing outcomes in in vivo mouse models. Here we utilized a commercially available surfactant polymer dressing (SPD) as a vehicle to deliver FL2 siRNA. To this end we incorporated collagen microparticles containing FL2 siRNA into SPD (SPD-FL2-siRNA) for direct application to the injury site. Topical application of SPD-FL2 siRNA to murine models of full-thickness excision wounds and full-thickness burn wounds resulted in significant improvements in the rate and quality of wound healing, as measured clinically and histologically, compared with controls. Wound healing occurred more rapidly and with high fidelity, resulting in properly organized collagen substructure. Taken together, these findings indicate that the incorporation of FL2 siRNA into existing treatment options is a promising avenue to improve wound outcomes. © Brian O'Rourke et al, 2018; Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2018.
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Angiogenesis is a highly regulated event involving complex, dynamic interactions between microvascular endothelial cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Alteration of ECM composition and architecture is a hallmark feature of wound clot and tumor stroma. We previously reported that during angiogenesis, endothelial cell responses to growth factors are modulated by the compositional and mechanical properties of a surrounding three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrix (ECM) that is dominated by either cross-linked fibrin or type I collagen. However, the role of 3D ECM in the regulation of angiogenesis associated with wound healing and tumor growth is not well defined. This study investigates the correlation of sprout angiogenesis and ECM microenvironment using in vivo and in vitro 3D angiogenesis models. It demonstrates that fibrin and type I collagen 3D matrices differentially but synergistically regulate sprout angiogenesis. Thus blocking both integrin alpha v beta 3 and integrin alpha 2 beta 1 might be a novel strategy to synergistically block sprout angiogenesis in solid tumors.
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The primary function of the skin is to serve as a protective barrier against the environment. Loss of the integrity of large portions of the skin as a result of injury or illness may lead to major disability or even death. Every year in the United States more than 1.25 million people have burns1 and 6.5 million have chronic skin ulcers caused by pressure, venous stasis, or diabetes mellitus.2 The primary goals of the treatment of wounds are rapid wound closure and a functional and aesthetically satisfactory scar. Recent advances in cellular and molecular biology have greatly expanded our understanding . . .
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Fiji is a distribution of the popular open-source software ImageJ focused on biological-image analysis. Fiji uses modern software engineering practices to combine powerful software libraries with a broad range of scripting languages to enable rapid prototyping of image-processing algorithms. Fiji facilitates the transformation of new algorithms into ImageJ plugins that can be shared with end users through an integrated update system. We propose Fiji as a platform for productive collaboration between computer science and biology research communities.
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To develop a flexible method of separation and quantification of immunohistochemical staining by means of color image analysis. An algorithm was developed to deconvolve the color information acquired with red-green-blue (RGB) cameras and to calculate the contribution of each of the applied stains based on stain-specific RGB absorption. The algorithm was tested using different combinations of diaminobenzidine, hematoxylin and eosin at different staining levels. Quantification of the different stains was not significantly influenced by the combination of multiple stains in a single sample. The color deconvolution algorithm resulted in comparable quantification independent of the stain combinations as long as the histochemical procedures did not influence the amount of stain in the sample due to bleaching because of stain solubility and saturation of staining was prevented. This image analysis algorithm provides a robust and flexible method for objective immunohistochemical analysis of samples stained with up to three different stains using a laboratory microscope, standard RGB camera setup and the public domain program NIH Image.
Growth factors (GFs) are versatile signalling molecules that orchestrate the dynamic, multi-stage process of wound healing. Delivery of exogenous GFs to the wound milieu to mediate healing in an active, physiologically-relevant manner has shown great promise in laboratories; however, the inherent instability of GFs, accompanied with numerous safety, efficacy and cost concerns, has hindered the clinical success of GF delivery. In this article, we highlight that the key to overcoming these challenges is to enhance the control of the activities of GFs throughout the delivering process. We summarise the recent strategies based on biomaterials matrices and molecular engineering, which aim to improve the conditions of GFs for delivery (at the 'supply' end of the delivery), increase the stability and functions of GFs in extracellular matrix (in transportation to target cells), as well as enhance the GFs/receptor interaction on the cell membrane (at the 'destination' end of the delivery). Many of these investigations have led to encouraging outcomes in various in vitro and in vivo regenerative models with considerable translational potential.
Specific staining of the extracellular matrix components is especially helpful in studying tissue remodeling, particularly in the case of connective tissue pathologies. As developed by Junqueira and colleagues in 1979, specific staining by Picrosirius red is one of the most important stains to study collagen networks in different tissues. Under polarized light, collagen bundles appear green, red or yellow, and are easily differentiated from the black background, thus allowing for quantitative morphometric analysis. As Junqueira and colleagues point out, many studies use color staining to differentiate collagen bundles and to specify collagen types, yet other studies report that polarized colors only reflect fiber thickness and packing. Using a simple histological example, our study illustrates the inability of Picrosirius red staining to differentiate collagen types, since the absorbed amount of polarized light by this dye strictly depends on the orientation of the collagen bundles.
Mast cells (MCs) are an important part of the innate immune system and are abundant in barrier organs such as the skin. They are known primarily for initiating allergic reactions, but many other biological functions have now been described for these cells. Studies have indicated that during wound repair, MCs enhance acute inflammation, stimulate reepithelialization and angiogenesis and promote scarring. MCs have also been linked to abnormal healing, with high numbers of MCs observed in chronic wounds, hypertrophic scars and keloids. Although MCs have gained attention in the wound healing field, several unique features of MCs have yet to be examined in the context of cutaneous repair. These include the ability of MCs to: (i) produce anti-inflammatory mediators; (ii) release mediators without degranulating; and (iii) change their phenotype. Recent findings highlight the complexity of MCs and suggest that more information is needed to understand their complete range of activities during repair.
Three-dimensional (3-D) structural parameters derived from lower-dimensional measurements using indirect morphometric methods may be strongly biased if the measured objects deviate from the assumed structure model. With the introduction of 3-D microscopic measuring techniques it is possible to obtain a complete depiction of complex spatial structures. As a consequence, new 3-D methods have recently been developed for the estimation of morphometric parameters such as volume, surface area and connectivity by direct processing of the 3-D images. Structure thickness is an important morphometric parameter which is usually defined for specific structure models only. In this paper we propose a general thickness definition for arbitrary structures allowing us to calculate the mean structure thickness and the thickness distribution of 3-D objects in a direct way and independently of an assumed structure model. Additionally, an efficient implementation for the practical usage of the method is described using distance transformation. The new method is applied to trabecular bone structures measured with a 3-D micro-computed tomography system.
In this paper, we propose a new method to obtain the Euclidean distance transformation and the Voronoi diagram based on the exact Euclidean metric for an n-dimensional picture. We present four algorithms to perform the transformation which are constructed by the serial composition of n-dimensional filters. When performed by a general purpose computer, they are faster than the method by H. Yamada for a two-dimensional picture. Those algorithms require only one n-dimensional array for storing input/output pictures and a single one-dimensional array for a work area, if an input picture needs not be preserved.
The goal of animal wound healing models is to replicate human physiology and predict therapeutic outcomes. There is currently no model of wound healing in rodents that closely parallels human wound healing. Rodents are attractive candidates for wound healing studies because of their availability, low cost, and ease of handling. However, rodent models have been criticized because the major mechanism of wound closure is contraction, whereas in humans reepithelialization and granulation tissue formation are the major mechanisms involved. This article describes a novel model of wound healing in mice utilizing wound splinting that is accurate, reproducible, minimizes wound contraction, and allows wound healing to occur through the processes of granulation and reepithelialization. Our results show that splinted wounds have an increased amount of granulation tissue deposition as compared to controls, but the rate of reepithelialization is not affected. Thus, this model eliminates wound contraction and allows rodents' wounds to heal by epithelialization and granulation tissue formation. Given these analogies to human wound healing, we believe that this technique is a useful model for the study of wound healing mechanisms and for the evaluation of new therapeutic modalities.
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