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Creators/Authors contains: "Freedman, Benjamin R."

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  1. Abstract

    The extracellular matrix (ECM) is the primary biomechanical environment that interacts with tendon cells (tenocytes). Stresses applied via muscle contraction during skeletal movement transfer across structural hierarchies to the tenocyte nucleus in native uninjured tendons. Alterations to ECM structural and mechanical properties due to mechanical loading and tissue healing may affect this multiscale strain transfer and stress transmission through the ECM. This study explores the interface between dynamic loading and tendon healing across multiple length scales using living tendon explants. Results show that macroscale mechanical and structural properties are inferior following high magnitude dynamic loading (fatigue) in uninjured living tendon and that these effects propagate to the microscale. Although similar macroscale mechanical effects of dynamic loading are present in healing tendon compared to uninjured tendon, the microscale properties differed greatly during early healing. Regression analysis identified several variables (collagen and nuclear disorganization, cellularity, and F-actin) that directly predict nuclear deformation under loading. Finite element modeling predicted deficits in ECM stress transmission following fatigue loading and during healing. Together, this work identifies the multiscale response of tendon to dynamic loading and healing, and provides new insight into microenvironmental features that tenocytes may experience following injury and after cell delivery therapies.


    In tendon, type‐I collagen assembles together into fibrils, fibers, and fascicles that exhibit a wavy or crimped pattern that uncrimps with applied tensile loading. This structural property has been observed across multiple tendons throughout aging and may play an important role in tendon viscoelasticity, response to fatigue loading, healing, and development. Previous work has shown that crimp is permanently altered with the application of fatigue loading. This opens the possibility of evaluating tendon crimp as a clinical surrogate of tissue damage. The purpose of this study was to determine how fatigue loading in tendon affects crimp and mechanical properties throughout aging and between tendon types. Mouse patellar tendons (PT) and flexor digitorum longus (FDL) tendons were fatigue loaded while an integrated plane polariscope simultaneously assessed crimp properties at P150 and P570 days of age to model mature and aged tendon phenotypes (N = 10–11/group). Tendon type, fatigue loading, and aging were found to differentially affect tendon mechanical and crimp properties. FDL tendons had higher modulus and hysteresis, whereas the PT showed more laxity and toe region strain throughout aging. Crimp frequency was consistently higher in FDL compared with PT throughout fatigue loading, whereas the crimp amplitude was cycle dependent. This differentialmore »response based on tendon type and age further suggests that the FDL and the PT respond differently to fatigue loading and that this response is age‐dependent. Together, our findings suggest that the mechanical and structural effects of fatigue loading are specific to tendon type and age in mice. © 2019 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 38:36–42, 2020

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  3. Abstract

    A covalently crosslinked methacrylated (MA)‐alginate cryogel vaccine has been previously shown to generate a potent response against murine melanoma, but is not mechanically robust and requires a large 16G needle for delivery. Here, covalent and ionic crosslinking of cryogels are combined with the hypothesis that this will result in a tough MA‐alginate cryogel with improved injectability. All tough cryogels can be injected through a smaller, 18G needle without sustaining any damage, while covalently crosslinked‐only cryogels break after injection. Cytosine‐phosphodiester‐guanine (CpG)‐delivering tough cryogels effectively activate dendritic cells (DCs). Granulocyte macrophage colony‐stimulating factor releasing tough cryogels recruit four times more DCs than blank gels by day 7 in vivo. The tough cryogel vaccine induces strong antigen‐specific cytotoxic T‐lymphocyte and humoral responses. These vaccines prevent tumor formation in 80% of mice inoculated with HER2/neu‐overexpressing DD breast cancer cells. The MA‐alginate tough cryogels provide a promising minimally invasive delivery platform for cancer vaccinations.

  4. Abstract

    Hydrogels are under active development for controlled drug delivery, but their clinical translation is limited by low drug loading capacity, deficiencies in mechanical toughness and storage stability, and poor control over the drug release that often results in burst release and short release duration. This work reports a design of composite clay hydrogels, which simultaneously achieve a spectrum of mechanical, storage, and drug loading/releasing properties to address the critical needs from translational perspectives. The clay nanoparticles provide large surface areas to adsorb biological drugs, and assemble into microparticles that are physically trapped within and toughen hydrogel networks. The composite hydrogels demonstrate feasibility of storage, and extended release of large quantities of an insulin‐like growth factor‐1 mimetic protein (8 mg mL−1) over four weeks. The release rate is primarily governed by ionic exchange and can be upregulated by low pH, which is typical for injured tissues. A rodent model of Achilles tendon injury is used to demonstrate that the composite hydrogels allow for highly extended and localized release of biological drugs in vivo, while demonstrating biodegradation and biocompatibility. These attributes make the composite hydrogel a promising system for drug delivery and regenerative medicine.