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Creators/Authors contains: "Mauck, Robert L."

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  2. Abstract Due to limited intrinsic healing capacity of the meniscus, meniscal injuries pose a significant clinical challenge. The most common method for treatment of damaged meniscal tissues, meniscectomy, leads to improper loading within the knee joint, which can increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Thus, there is a clinical need for the development of constructs for meniscal repair that better replicate meniscal tissue organization to improve load distributions and function over time. Advanced three-dimensional bioprinting technologies such as suspension bath bioprinting provide some key advantages, such as the ability to support the fabrication of complex structures using non-viscous bioinks. In this work, the suspension bath printing process is utilized to print anisotropic constructs with a unique bioink that contains embedded hydrogel fibers that align via shear stresses during printing. Constructs with and without fibers are printed and then cultured for up to 56 d in vitro in a custom clamping system. Printed constructs with fibers demonstrate increased cell and collagen alignment, as well as enhanced tensile moduli when compared to constructs printed without fibers. This work advances the use of biofabrication to develop anisotropic constructs that can be utilized for the repair of meniscal tissue.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 12, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2024
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2023
  5. Meniscal tears are associated with a high risk of osteoarthritis but currently have no disease-modifying therapies. Using a Gli1 reporter line, we found that Gli1 + cells contribute to the development of meniscus horns from 2 weeks of age. In adult mice, Gli1 + cells resided at the superficial layer of meniscus and expressed known mesenchymal progenitor markers. In culture, meniscal Gli1 + cells possessed high progenitor activities under the control of Hh signal. Meniscus injury at the anterior horn induced a quick expansion of Gli1-lineage cells. Normally, meniscal tissue healed slowly, leading to cartilage degeneration. Ablation of Gli1 + cells further hindered this repair process. Strikingly, intra-articular injection of Gli1 + meniscal cells or an Hh agonist right after injury accelerated the bridging of the interrupted ends and attenuated signs of osteoarthritis. Taken together, our work identified a novel progenitor population in meniscus and proposes a new treatment for repairing injured meniscus and preventing osteoarthritis.
  6. 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.