Matching Items (11)
- All Subjects: Biomaterials
- Creators: Harrington Bioengineering Program
- Member of: Barrett, The Honors College Thesis/Creative Project Collection
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may result in numerous pathologies that cannot currently be mitigated by clinical interventions. Stem cell therapies are widely researched to address TBI-related pathologies with limited success in pre-clinical models due to limitations in transplant survival rates. To address this issue, the use of tissue engineered scaffolds as a delivery mechanism has been explored to improve survival and engraftment rates. Previous work with hyaluronic acid \u2014 laminin (HA-Lm) gels found high viability and engraftment rates of mouse fetal derived neural progenitor/stem cells (NPSCs) cultured on the gel. Furthermore, NPSCs exposed to the HA-Lm gels exhibit increased expression of CXCR4, a critical surface receptor that promotes cell migration. We hypothesized that culturing hNPCs on the HA-Lm gel would increase CXCR4 expression, and thus enhance their ability to migrate into sites of tissue damage. In order to test this hypothesis, we designed gel scaffolds with mechanical properties that were optimized to match that of the natural extracellular matrix. A live/dead assay showed that hNPCs preferred the gel with this optimized formulation, compared to a stiffer gel that was used in the CXCR4 expression experiment. We found that there may be increased CXCR4 expression of hNPCs plated on the HA-Lm gel after 24 hours, indicating that HA-Lm gels may provide a valuable scaffold to support viability and migration of hNPCs to the injury site. Future studies aimed at verifying increased CXCR4 expression of hNPCs cultured on HA-Lm gels are necessary to determine if HA-Lm gels can provide a beneficial scaffold for stem cell engraftment therapy for treating TBI.
Cardiac tissue engineering is an emerging field that has the potential to regenerate and repair damaged cardiac tissues after myocardial infarction. Numerous studies have introduced hydrogel-based cardiac tissue constructs featuring suitable microenvironments for cell growth along with precise surface topographies for directed cell organization. Despite significant progress, previously developed cardiac tissue constructs have suffered from electrically insulated matrices and low cell retention. To address these drawbacks, we fabricated micropatterned hybrid hydrogel constructs (uniaxial microgrooves with 50 µm with) using a photocrosslinkable gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) hydrogel incorporated with gold nanorods (GNRs). The electrical impedance results revealed a lower impedance in the GelMA-GNR constructs versus the pure GelMA constructs. Superior electrical conductivity of GelMA-GNR hydrogels (due to incorporation of GNRs) enabled the hybrid tissue constructs to be externally stimulated using a pulse generator. Furthermore, GelMA-GNR tissue hydrogels were tested to investigate the biological characteristics of cultured cardiomyocytes. The F-actin fiber analysis results (area coverage and alignment indices) revealed higher directed (uniaxial) cytoskeleton organization of cardiac cells cultured on the GelMA-GNR hydrogel constructs in comparison to pure GelMA. Considerable increase in the coverage area of cardiac-specific markers (sarcomeric α-actinin and connexin 43) were observed on the GelMA-GNR hybrid constructs compared to pure GelMA hydrogels. Despite substantial dissimilarities in cell organization, both pure GelMA and hybrid GelMA-GNR hydrogel constructs provided a suitable microenvironment for synchronous beating of cardiomyocytes.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death in individuals under the age of 45, resulting in over 50,000 deaths each year. Over 80,000 TBI patients report long-term deficits consisting of motor or cognitive dysfunctions due to TBI pathophysiology. The biochemical secondary injury triggers a harmful inflammatory cascade, gliosis, and astrocyte activation surrounding the injury lesion, and no current treatments exist to alleviate these underlying pathologies. In order to mitigate the negative inflammatory effects of the secondary injury, we created a hydrogel comprised of hyaluronic acid (HA) and laminin, and we hypothesized that the anti-inflammatory properties of HA will decrease astrocyte activation and inflammation after TBI. C57/BL6 mice were subjected to mild-to-moderate CCI. Three days following injury, mice were treated with injection of vehicle or HA-Laminin hydrogel. Mice were sacrificed at three and seven days post injection and analyzed for astrocyte and inflammatory responses. In mice treated with vehicle injections, astrocyte activation was significantly increased at three days post-transplantation in the injured cortex and injury lesion. However, mice treated with the HA-Laminin hydrogel experienced significantly reduced acute astrocyte activation at the injury site three days post transplantation. Interestingly, there were no significant differences in astrocyte activation at seven days post treatment in either group. Although the microglial and macrophage response remains to be investigated, our data suggest that the HA-Laminin hydrogel demonstrates potential for TBI therapeutics targeting inflammation, including acute modulation of the astrocyte, microglia, and macrophage response to TBI.
Polymeric nanoparticles (NP) consisting of Poly Lactic-co-lactic acid - methyl polyethylene glycol (PLLA-mPEG) or Poly Lactic-co-Glycolic Acid (PLGA) are an emerging field of study for therapeutic and diagnostic applications. NPs have a variety of tunable physical characteristics like size, morphology, and surface topography. They can be loaded with therapeutic and/or diagnostic agents, either on the surface or within the core. NP size is an important characteristic as it directly impacts clearance and where the particles can travel and bind in the body. To that end, the typical target size for NPs is 30-200 nm for the majority of applications. Fabricating NPs using the typical techniques such as drop emulsion, microfluidics, or traditional nanoprecipitation can be expensive and may not yield the appropriate particle size. Therefore, a need has emerged for low-cost fabrication methods that allow customization of NP physical characteristics with high reproducibility. In this study we manufactured a low-cost (<$210), open-source syringe pump that can be used in nanoprecipitation. A design of experiments was utilized to find the relationship between the independent variables: polymer concentration (mg/mL), agitation rate of aqueous solution (rpm), and injection rate of the polymer solution (mL/min) and the dependent variables: size (nm), zeta potential, and polydispersity index (PDI). The quarter factorial design consisted of 4 experiments, each of which was manufactured in batches of three. Each sample of each batch was measured three times via dynamic light scattering. The particles were made with PLLA-mPEG dissolved in a 50% dichloromethane and 50% acetone solution. The polymer solution was dispensed into the aqueous solution containing 0.3% polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). Data suggests that none of the factors had a statistically significant effect on NP size. However, all interactions and relationships showed that there was a negative correlation between the above defined input parameters and the NP size. The NP sizes ranged from 276.144 ± 14.710 nm at the largest to 185.611 ± 15.634 nm at the smallest. In conclusion, the low-cost syringe pump nanoprecipitation method can achieve small sizes like the ones reported with drop emulsion or microfluidics. While there are trends suggesting predictable tuning of physical characteristics, significant control over the customization has not yet been achieved.
The current clinical gold standards for tissue sealing include sutures, staples, and glues, however several adverse effects limit their use. Sutures and staples inherently cause additional trauma to tissue surrounding the wound, and glues can be lacking in adhesion and are potentially inflammatory. All three also introduce risk of infection. Light-activated tissue sealing, particularly the use of near-infrared light, is an attractive alternative, as it localizes heat, thereby preventing thermal damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. Previous work identified a glutaraldehyde-crosslinked chitosan film as a lead sealant for gastrointestinal incision sealing, but in vivo testing resulted in tissue degradation in and around the wound. The suggested causes for this degradation were excess acetic acid, endotoxins in the chitosan, and thermal damage. A basic buffer wash protocol was developed to remove excess acid from the films following fabrication. UV-Vis spectroscopy demonstrated that following the wash, films had the same concentration of Indocyanine green as unwashed films, allowing them to absorb light at the same wavelength, therefore showing the wash did not affect the film’s function. However subsequent washes led to degradation of film mass of nearly 20%. Standard chitosan films had significantly greater mass gain (p = 0.028) and significantly less subsequent loss (p= 0.012) than endotoxin free chitosan-films after soaking in phosphate buffered saline for varying durations , while soaking duration had no effect (p = 0.332). Leak pressure testing of films prepared with varying numbers of buffer washes, laser temperature, and lasering time revealed no significant interaction between any of the 3 variables. As such, it was confirmed that proceeding with in vivo testing with the buffer wash, various lasering temperatures, and laser times would not affect the sealing performance of the films. Future investigation will involve characterization of additional materials that may be effective for sealing of internal wounds, as well as drug loading of agents that may hasten the healing process.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally according to the World Health Organization. Although improved treatments and early diagnoses have reduced cancer related mortalities, metastatic disease remains a major clinical challenge. The local tumor microenvironment plays a significant role in cancer metastasis, where tumor cells respond and adapt to a plethora of biochemical and biophysical signals from stromal cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Due to these complexities, there is a critical need to understand molecular mechanisms underlying cancer metastasis to facilitate the discovery of more effective therapies. In the past few years, the integration of advanced biomaterials and microengineering approaches has initiated the development of innovative platform technologies for cancer research. These technologies enable the creation of biomimetic in vitro models with physiologically relevant (i.e. in vivo-like) characteristics to conduct studies ranging from fundamental cancer biology to high-throughput drug screening. In this review article, we discuss the biological significance of each step of the metastatic cascade and provide a broad overview on recent progress to recapitulate these stages using advanced biomaterials and microengineered technologies. In each section, we will highlight the advantages and shortcomings of each approach and provide our perspectives on future directions.
There is an increasing interest in developing thermo-responsive polymers for treating aneurysms. In this thesis project, the potential for poly(NIPAAm-co-JAAm-co-HEMA-Acrylate) (PNJHAc) as a treatment method for brain aneurysms was investigated. Five different batches of polymer were synthesized, purified, lyophilized, and characterized using nuclear magnetic resonance and cloud point techniques over the course of several months. Two were tested in aneurysm models. Of these five batches, there were two that showed promise as liquid embolic agents for endovascular embolization.
Previous studies have found that the detection of near-threshold stimuli is decreased immediately before movement and throughout movement production. This has been suggested to occur through the use of the internal forward model processing an efferent copy of the motor command and creating a prediction that is used to cancel out the resulting sensory feedback. Currently, there are no published accounts of the perception of tactile signals for motor tasks and contexts related to the lips during both speech planning and production. In this study, we measured the responsiveness of the somatosensory system during speech planning using light electrical stimulation below the lower lip by comparing perception during mixed speaking and silent reading conditions. Participants were asked to judge whether a constant near-threshold electrical stimulation (subject-specific intensity, 85% detected at rest) was present during different time points relative to an initial visual cue. In the speaking condition, participants overtly produced target words shown on a computer monitor. In the reading condition, participants read the same target words silently to themselves without any movement or sound. We found that detection of the stimulus was attenuated during speaking conditions while remaining at a constant level close to the perceptual threshold throughout the silent reading condition. Perceptual modulation was most intense during speech production and showed some attenuation just prior to speech production during the planning period of speech. This demonstrates that there is a significant decrease in the responsiveness of the somatosensory system during speech production as well as milliseconds before speech is even produced which has implications for speech disorders such as stuttering and schizophrenia with pronounced deficits in the somatosensory system.
Previous research has shown that a loud acoustic stimulus can trigger an individual's prepared movement plan. This movement response is referred to as a startle-evoked movement (SEM). SEM has been observed in the stroke survivor population where results have shown that SEM enhances single joint movements that are usually performed with difficulty. While the presence of SEM in the stroke survivor population advances scientific understanding of movement capabilities following a stroke, published studies using the SEM phenomenon only examined one joint. The ability of SEM to generate multi-jointed movements is understudied and consequently limits SEM as a potential therapy tool. In order to apply SEM as a therapy tool however, the biomechanics of the arm in multi-jointed movement planning and execution must be better understood. Thus, the objective of our study was to evaluate if SEM could elicit multi-joint reaching movements that were accurate in an unrestrained, two-dimensional workspace. Data was collected from ten subjects with no previous neck, arm, or brain injury. Each subject performed a reaching task to five Targets that were equally spaced in a semi-circle to create a two-dimensional workspace. The subject reached to each Target following a sequence of two non-startling acoustic stimuli cues: "Get Ready" and "Go". A loud acoustic stimuli was randomly substituted for the "Go" cue. We hypothesized that SEM is accessible and accurate for unrestricted multi-jointed reaching tasks in a functional workspace and is therefore independent of movement direction. Our results found that SEM is possible in all five Target directions. The probability of evoking SEM and the movement kinematics (i.e. total movement time, linear deviation, average velocity) to each Target are not statistically different. Thus, we conclude that SEM is possible in a functional workspace and is not dependent on where arm stability is maximized. Moreover, coordinated preparation and storage of a multi-jointed movement is indeed possible.
With an increased demand for more enzyme-sensitive, bioresorbable and more biodegradable polymers, various studies of copolymers have been developed. Polymers are widely used in various applications of biomedical engineering such as in tissue engineering, drug delivery and wound healing. Depending on the conditions in which polymers are used, they are modified to accommodate a specific need. For instance, polymers used in drug delivery are more efficient if they are biodegradable. This ensures that the delivery system does not remain in the body after releasing the drug. It is therefore crucial that the polymer used in the drug system possess biodegradable properties. Such modification can be done in different ways including the use of peptides to make copolymers that will degrade in the presence of enzymes. In this work, we studied the effect of a polypeptide GAPGLL on the polymer NIPAAm and compare with the previously studied Poly(NIPAAm-co-GAPGLF). Both copolymers Poly(NIPAAm-co-GAPGLL) were first synthesized from Poly(NIPAAm-co-NASI) through nucleophilic substitution by the two peptides. The synthesis of these copolymers was confirmed by 1H NMR spectra and through cloud point measurement, the corresponding LCST was determined. Both copolymers were degraded by collagenase enzyme at 25 ° C and their 1H NMR spectra confirmed this process. Both copolymers were cleaved by collagenase, leading to an increase in solubility which yielded a higher LCST compared to before enzyme degradation. Future studies will focus on evaluating other peptides and also using other techniques such as Differential Scanning Microcalorimetry (DSC) to better observe the LCST behavior. Moreover, enzyme kinetics studies is also crucial to evaluate how fast the enzyme degrades each of the copolymers.