skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on August 2, 2024

Title: Modeling the Maturation of the Vocal Fold Lamina Propria Using a Bioorthogonally Tunable Hydrogel Platform

Toward the goal of establishing an engineered model of the vocal fold lamina propria (LP), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are encapsulated in hyaluronic acid (HA)‐based hydrogels employing tetrazine ligation with strained alkenes. To mimic matrix stiffening during LP maturation, diffusion‐controlled interfacial bioorthogonal crosslinking is carried out on the soft cellular construct using HA modified with a ferocious dienophile,trans‐cyclooctene (TCO). Cultures are maintained in MSC growth media for 14 days to afford a model of a newborn LP that is homogeneously soft (nLP), a homogeneously stiffened construct zero (sLP0) or 7 days (sLP7) post cell encapsulation, and a mature LP model (mLP) with a stiff top layer and a soft bottom layer. Installation of additional HA crosslinks restricts cell spreading. Compared to the nLP controls, sLP7 conditions upregulate the expression of fibrous matrix proteins (Col I, DCN, andFN EDA), classic fibroblastic markers (TNC, FAP, andFSP1), and matrix remodeling enzymes (MMP2, TIMP1, andHAS3). Day 7 stiffening also upregulates the catabolic activities, enhances ECM turnover, and promotesYAPexpression. Overall, in situ delayed matrix stiffening promotes a fibroblast transition from MSCs and enhances YAP‐regulated mechanosensing.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Advanced Healthcare Materials
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    Background Volumetric tissue-engineered constructs are limited in development due to the dependence on well-formed vascular networks. Scaffold pore size and the mechanical properties of the matrix dictates cell attachment, proliferation and successive tissue morphogenesis. We hypothesize scaffold pore architecture also controls stromal-vessel interactions during morphogenesis. Methods The interaction between mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) seeded on hydroxyapatite scaffolds of 450, 340, and 250 μm pores and microvascular fragments (MVFs) seeded within 20 mg/mL fibrin hydrogels that were cast into the cell-seeded scaffolds, was assessed in vitro over 21 days and compared to the fibrin hydrogels without scaffold but containing both MSCs and MVFs. mRNA sequencing was performed across all groups and a computational mechanics model was developed to validate architecture effects on predicting vascularization driven by stiffer matrix behavior at scaffold surfaces compared to the pore interior. Results Lectin staining of decalcified scaffolds showed continued vessel growth, branching and network formation at 14 days. The fibrin gel provides no resistance to spread-out capillary networks formation, with greater vessel loops within the 450 μm pores and vessels bridging across 250 μm pores. Vessel growth in the scaffolds was observed to be stimulated by hypoxia and successive angiogenic signaling. Fibrin gels showed linear fold increase in VEGF expression and no change in BMP2. Within scaffolds, there was multiple fold increase in VEGF between days 7 and 14 and early multiple fold increases in BMP2 between days 3 and 7, relative to fibrin. There was evidence of yap/taz based hippo signaling and mechanotransduction in the scaffold groups. The vessel growth models determined by computational modeling matched the trends observed experimentally. Conclusion The differing nature of hypoxia signaling between scaffold systems and mechano-transduction sensing matrix mechanics were primarily responsible for differences in osteogenic cell and microvessel growth. The computational model implicated scaffold architecture in dictating branching morphology and strain in the hydrogel within pores in dictating vessel lengths. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) reside in the bone marrow within niches that provide microenvironmental signals in the form of biophysical cues, bound and diffusible biomolecules, and heterotypic cell–cell interactions that influence HSC fate decisions. This study seeks to inform the development of a synthetic culture platform that promotes ex vivo HSC expansion without exhaustion. A library of methacrylamide‐functionalized gelatin (GelMA) hydrogels is used to explore remodeling and crosstalk from mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) on the expansion and quiescence of murine HSCs. The use of a degradable GelMA hydrogel enables MSC‐mediated remodeling, yielding dynamic shifts in the matrix environment over time. An initially low‐diffusivity hydrogel for co‐culture of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells to MSCs facilitates maintenance of an early progenitor cell population over 7 days. Excitingly, this platform promotes retention of a quiescent HSC population compared to HSC monocultures. These studies reveal MSC‐density–dependent upregulation of MMP‐9 and changes in hydrogel mechanical properties (ΔE= 2.61 ± 0.72) suggesting MSC‐mediated matrix remodeling may contribute to a dynamic culture environment. Herein, a 3D hydrogel is reported for ex vivo HSC culture, in which HSC expansion and quiescence is sensitive to hydrogel properties, MSC co‐culture, and MSC‐mediated hydrogel remodeling.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Proper cell–material interactions are critical to remain cell function and thus successful tissue regeneration. Many fabrication processes have been developed to create microenvironments to control cell attachment and organization on a three‐dimensional (3D) scaffold. However, these approaches often involve heavy engineering and only the surface layer can be patterned. We found that 3D extrusion based printing at high temperature and pressure will result an aligned effect on the polymer molecules, and this molecular arrangement will further induce the cell alignment and different differentiation capacities. In particular, articular cartilage tissue is known to have zonal collagen fiber and cell orientation to support different functions, where collagen fibers and chondrocytes align parallel, randomly, and perpendicular, respectively, to the surface of the joint. Therefore, cell alignment was evaluated in a cartilage model in this study. We used small angle X‐ray scattering analysis to substantiate the polymer molecule alignment phenomenon. The cellular response was evaluated bothin vitroandin vivo. Seeded mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) showed different morphology and orientation on scaffolds, as a combined result of polymer molecule alignment and printed scaffold patterns. Gene expression results showed improved superficial zonal chondrogenic marker expression in parallel‐aligned group. The cell alignment was successfully maintained in the animal model after 7 days with distinct MSC morphology between the casted and parallel printed scaffolds. This 3D printing induced polymer and cell alignment will have a significant impact on developing scaffold with controlled cell–material interactions for complex tissue engineering while avoiding complicated surface treatment, and therefore provides new concept for effective tissue repairing in future clinical applications. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 106A: 2190‐2199, 2018.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) respond to environmental forces with both cytoskeletal re-structuring and activation of protein chaperones of mechanical information, β-catenin, and yes-associated protein 1 (YAP1). To function, MSCs must differentiate between dynamic forces such as cyclic strains of extracellular matrix due to physical activity and static strains due to ECM stiffening. To delineate how MSCs recognize and respond differently to both force types, we compared effects of dynamic (200 cycles × 2%) and static (1 × 2% hold) strain on nuclear translocation of β-catenin and YAP1 at 3 hours after force application. Dynamic strain induced nuclear accumulation of β-catenin, and increased cytoskeletal actin structure and cell stiffness, but had no effect on nuclear YAP1 levels. Critically, both nuclear actin and nuclear stiffness increased along with dynamic strain-induced β-catenin transport. Augmentation of cytoskeletal structure using either static strain or lysophosphatidic acid did not increase nuclear content of β-catenin or actin, but induced robust nuclear increase in YAP1. As actin binds β-catenin, we considered whether β-catenin, which lacks a nuclear localization signal, was dependent on actin to gain entry to the nucleus. Knockdown of cofilin-1 (Cfl1) or importin-9 (Ipo9), which co-mediate nuclear transfer of G-actin, prevented dynamic strain-mediated nuclear transfer of both β-catenin and actin. In sum, dynamic strain induction of actin re-structuring promotes nuclear transport of G-actin, concurrently supporting nuclear access of β-catenin via mechanisms used for actin transport. Thus, dynamic and static strain activate alternative mechanoresponses reflected by differences in the cellular distributions of actin, β-catenin, and YAP1.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract Background

    Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) secrete a diversity of factors with broad therapeutic potential, yet current culture methods limit potency outcomes. In this study, we used topographical cues on polystyrene films to investigate their impact on the secretory profile and potency of bone marrow-derived MSCs (hBM-MSCs). hBM-MSCs from four donors were cultured on topographic substrates depicting defined roughness, curvature, grooves and various levels of wettability.


    The topographical PS-based array was developed using razor printing, polishing and plasma treatment methods. hBM-MSCs from four donors were purchased from RoosterBio and used in co-culture with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from Cell Applications Inc. in an immunopotency assay to measure immunosuppressive capacity. Cells were cultured on low serum (2%) for 24–48 h prior to analysis. Image-based analysis was used for cell quantification and morphology assessment. Metabolic activity of BM-hMSCs was measured as the mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate using an extracellular flux analyzer. Conditioned media samples of BM-hMSCs were used to quantify secreted factors, and the data were analyzed using R statistics. Enriched bioprocesses were identify using the Gene Ontology toolenrichGOfrom theclusterprofiler.One-way and two-way ANOVAs were carried out to identify significant changes between the conditions. Results were deemed statistically significant for combinedP < 0.05 for at least three independent experiments.


    Cell viability was not significantly affected in the topographical substrates, and cell elongation was enhanced at least twofold in microgrooves and surfaces with a low contact angle. Increased cell elongation correlated with a metabolic shift from oxidative phosphorylation to a glycolytic state which is indicative of a high-energy state. Differential protein expression and gene ontology analyses identified bioprocesses enriched across donors associated with immune modulation and tissue regeneration. The growth of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was suppressed in hBM-MSCs co-cultures, confirming enhanced immunosuppressive potency. YAP/TAZ levels were found to be reduced on these topographies confirming a mechanosensing effect on cells and suggesting a potential role in the immunomodulatory function of hMSCs.


    This work demonstrates the potential of topographical cues as a culture strategy to improve the secretory capacity and enrich for an immunomodulatory phenotype in hBM-MSCs.

    more » « less