[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mimicking the complicated anisotropic structures of a native tissue is extremely important in tissue engineering. In a previous study, we developed an anisotropic collagen gel scaffold (ACGS) having a hierarchical structure and a properties gradient. In this study, our objective was to see how cells remodel the scaffolds through the cells-ACGS interaction. For this purpose, we cultured osteoblastic cells on ACGS, which we regarded as a model system for the cells-extracellular matrix (cell-ECM) interaction. Changes in the ACGS-cell composites structure by cell-ECM interactions was investigated from a macroscopic level to a microscopic level. Osteoblastic cells were also cultured on an isotropic collagen gel (ICGS) as a control. During the cultivation, mechanical stimuli were applied to collagen-cell composites for adequate matrix remodeling. Confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) was used to observe macroscopic changes in the ACGS-cell composite structure by osteoblastic cells. Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) measurements were performed to characterize microscopic structural changes in the composites. Macroscopic observations using CLSM revealed that osteoblastic cells remained only in the diluted phase in ACGS and they collected collagen fibrils or formed a toroidal structure, depending on the depth from the ACGS surface in the tubular diluted phase. The cells were uniformly distributed in ICGS. SAXS analysis suggests that collagen fibrils were remodeled by osteoblastic cells, and this remodeling process would be affected by the structure difference between ACGS and ICGS. These results suggest that we directly regulate cell-ECM interaction by the unique anisotropic and hierarchical structure of ACGS. The cell-gel composite presented in this study would promise an efficient scaffold material in tissue engineering.
No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have found that dialysis of 5 mg/mL collagen solution into the phosphate solution with a pH of 7.1 and an ionic strength of 151 mM [corrected] at 25 °C results in a collagen gel with a birefringence and tubular pores aligned parallel to the growth direction of the gel. The time course of averaged diameter of tubular pores during the anisotropic gelation was expressed by a power law with an exponent of 1/3, suggesting that the formation of tubular pores is attributed to a spinodal decomposition-like phase separation. Small angle light scattering patterns and high resolution confocal laser scanning microscope images of the anisotropic collagen gel suggested that the collagen fibrils are aligned perpendicular to the growth direction of the gel. The positional dependence of the order parameter of the collagen fibrils showed that the anisotropic collagen gel has an orientation gradient.
No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · Biomacromolecules
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The viscoelastic properties of cell-seeded agarose gel were measured as a function of culture time. Because the seeded cells, MC3T3-E1, were osteoblast-like cells, the system can be regarded as a model osteogenesis system. For all specimens the characteristic stress relaxation curve of agarose gel was observed—a large relaxation up to 104 s followed by a gel plateau, where the former was attributed to molecular motion of polymer chains between two adjacent cross-links of the gel and the latter to the elasticity of the gel network. The viscoelasticity was quantified by fitting stress relaxation data to an empirical equation. The relaxation time and its distribution did not change with culture time. The initial and equilibrium moduli, E
0 and E
e, respectively, and relaxation strength, ΔE = E
0 − E
e, did not change up to day 15 of culture but changed significantly at day 18 of culture. The change in ΔE with culture period correlated well with that in E
0. The changes in the mechanical properties of the cell-seeded agarose gel system were explained in terms of the function of MC3T3-E1 in precipitating calcium phosphate mineral particles. The precipitation was detected by alizarin red S staining of the system at day 9 of culture. The precipitated calcium phosphate was confirmed to be hydroxyapatite (HAp) and the amount of HAp increased monotonically with culturing time, both of which were observed by X-ray diffraction studies. The dependence of the modulus of the composite on mineral fraction is discussed. A simple model of mixing of the components based on the continuum material concept was not applicable, but a model considering percolation of mineral particles in a network chain with culture time was suitable to explain the observed results. The results may be particularly important for predicting the stiffness of functionally engineered bony tissue implanted in a fractured bone.
No preview · Article · Mar 2011 · Journal of Biorheology