Publications by authors named "Tom Hodgkinson"

17 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The use of nanovibration to discover specific and potent bioactive metabolites that stimulate osteogenic differentiation in mesenchymal stem cells.

Sci Adv 2021 Feb 26;7(9). Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Centre for the Cellular Microenvironment, Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK.

Bioactive metabolites have wide-ranging biological activities and are a potential source of future research and therapeutic tools. Here, we use nanovibrational stimulation to induce osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells, in the absence of off-target, nonosteogenic differentiation. We show that this differentiation method, which does not rely on the addition of exogenous growth factors to culture media, provides an artifact-free approach to identifying bioactive metabolites that specifically and potently induce osteogenesis. We first identify a highly specific metabolite, cholesterol sulfate, an endogenous steroid. Next, a screen of other small molecules with a similar steroid scaffold identified fludrocortisone acetate with both specific and highly potent osteogenic-inducing activity. Further, we implicate cytoskeletal contractility as a measure of osteogenic potency and cell stiffness as a measure of specificity. These findings demonstrate that physical principles can be used to identify bioactive metabolites and then enable optimization of metabolite potency can be optimized by examining structure-function relationships.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abb7921DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7909882PMC
February 2021

Development of collagen-poly(caprolactone)-based core-shell scaffolds supplemented with proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans for ligament repair.

Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl 2021 Jan 20;120:111657. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

Tissue Engineering Research Group, Department of Anatomy & Regenerative Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), Ireland; Trinity Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Ireland; Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) Centre, RCSI, Ireland. Electronic address:

Core-shell scaffolds offer a promising regenerative solution to debilitating injuries to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) thanks to a unique biphasic structure. Nevertheless, current core-shell designs are impaired by an imbalance between permeability, biochemical and mechanical cues. This study aimed to address this issue by creating a porous core-shell construct which favors cell infiltration and matrix production, while providing mechanical stability at the site of injury. The developed core-shell scaffold combines an outer shell of electrospun poly(caprolactone) fibers with a freeze-dried core of type I collagen doped with proteoglycans (biglycan, decorin) or glycosaminoglycans (chondroitin sulphate, dermatan sulphate). The aligned fibrous shell achieved an elastic modulus akin of the human ACL, while the porous collagen core is permeable to human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC). Doping of the core with the aforementioned biomolecules led to structural and mechanical changes in the pore network. Assessment of cellular metabolic activity and scaffold contraction shows that hMSCs actively remodel the matrix at different degrees, depending on the core's doping formulation. Additionally, immunohistochemical staining and mRNA transcript levels show that the collagen-chondroitin sulphate formulation has the highest matrix production activity, while the collagen-decorin formulation featured a matrix production profile more characteristic of the undamaged tissue. Together, this demonstrates that scaffold doping with target biomolecules leads to distinct levels of cell-mediated matrix remodeling. Overall, this work resulted in the development of a versatile and robust platform with a combination of mechanical and biochemical features that have a significant potential in promoting the repair process of ACL tissue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msec.2020.111657DOI Listing
January 2021

Regenerative Response of Degenerate Human Nucleus Pulposus Cells to GDF6 Stimulation.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Sep 27;21(19). Epub 2020 Sep 27.

Division of Cell Matrix Biology and Regenerative Medicine, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.

Growth differentiation factor (GDF) family members have been implicated in the development and maintenance of healthy nucleus pulposus (NP) tissue, making them promising therapeutic candidates for treatment of intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration and associated back pain. GDF6 has been shown to promote discogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells, but its effect on NP cells remains largely unknown. Our aim was to investigate GDF6 signalling in adult human NP cells derived from degenerate tissue and determine the signal transduction pathways critical for GDF6-mediated phenotypic changes and tissue homeostatic mechanisms. This study demonstrates maintained expression of GDF6 receptors in human NP and annulus fibrosus (AF) cells across a range of degeneration grades at gene and protein level. We observed an anabolic response in NP cells treated with recombinant GDF6 (increased expression of matrix and NP-phenotypic markers; increased glycosaminoglycan production; no change in catabolic enzyme expression), and identified the signalling pathways involved in these responses (SMAD1/5/8 and ERK1/2 phosphorylation, validated by blocking studies). These findings suggest that GDF6 promotes a healthy disc tissue phenotype in degenerate NP cells through SMAD-dependent and -independent (ERK1/2) mechanisms, which is important for development of GDF6 therapeutic strategies for treatment of degenerate discs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197143DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7582366PMC
September 2020

High BMPR2 expression leads to enhanced SMAD1/5/8 signalling and GDF6 responsiveness in human adipose-derived stem cells: implications for stem cell therapies for intervertebral disc degeneration.

J Tissue Eng 2020 Jan-Dec;11:2041731420919334. Epub 2020 May 18.

Division of Cell Matrix Biology and Regenerative Medicine, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Oxford Road, Manchester, UK.

Stem cell-based regenerative strategies are promising for intervertebral disc degeneration. Stimulation of bone-marrow- and adipose-derived multipotent stem cells with recombinant human growth differentiation factor 6 (rhGDF6) promotes anabolic nucleus pulposus like phenotypes. In comparison to mesenchymal stem cells, adipose-derived multipotent stem cells exhibit greater NP-marker gene expression and proteoglycan-rich matrix production. To understand these response differences, we investigated bone morphogenetic protein receptor profiles in donor-matched human mesenchymal stem cells and adipose-derived multipotent stem cells, determined differences in rhGDF6 signalling and their importance in NP-like differentiation between cell populations. Bone morphogenetic protein receptor expression in mesenchymal stem cells and adipose-derived multipotent stem cells revealed elevated and less variable expression of BMPR2 in adipose-derived multipotent stem cells, which corresponded with increased downstream pathway activation (SMAD1/5/8, ERK1/2). Inhibitor studies demonstrated SMAD1/5/8 signalling was required for rhGDF6-induced nucleus-pulposus-like adipose-derived multipotent stem cell differentiation, while ERK1/2 contributed significantly to critical nucleus pulposus gene expression, aggrecan and type II collagen production. These data inform cell regenerative therapeutic choices for intervertebral disc degeneration regeneration and identify further potential optimisation targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2041731420919334DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7238299PMC
May 2020

Therapeutic potential of growth differentiation factors in the treatment of degenerative disc diseases.

JOR Spine 2019 Mar 8;2(1):e1045. Epub 2019 Mar 8.

Division of Cell Matrix Biology and Regenerative Medicine, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre Manchester UK.

Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is a major contributing factor to chronic low back pain and disability, leading to imbalance between anabolic and catabolic processes, altered extracellular matrix composition, loss of tissue hydration, inflammation, and impaired mechanical functionality. Current treatments aim to manage symptoms rather than treat underlying pathology. Therefore, IVD degeneration is a target for regenerative medicine strategies. Research has focused on understanding the molecular process of degeneration and the identification of various factors that may have the ability to halt and even reverse the degenerative process. One such family of growth factors, the growth differentiation factor (GDF) family, have shown particular promise for disc regeneration in in vitro and in vivo models of IVD degeneration. This review outlines our current understanding of IVD degeneration, and in this context, aims to discuss recent advancements in the use of GDF family members as anabolic factors for disc regeneration. An increasing body of evidence indicates that GDF family members are central to IVD homeostatic processes and are able to upregulate healthy nucleus pulposus cell marker genes in degenerative cells, induce mesenchymal stem cells to differentiate into nucleus pulposus cells and even act as chemotactic signals mobilizing resident cell populations during disc injury repair. The understanding of GDF signaling and its interplay with inflammatory and catabolic processes may be critical for the future development of effective IVD regeneration therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsp2.1045DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6686806PMC
March 2019

Graphene oxide: A growth factor delivery carrier to enhance chondrogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells in 3D hydrogels.

Acta Biomater 2019 09 17;96:271-280. Epub 2019 Jul 17.

Division of Cell Matrix Biology and Regenerative Medicine, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester, M13 9PT, UK; NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Grafton St, M13 9WU Manchester, UK. Electronic address:

Cartilage engineering with stem cells in 3D scaffolds is a promising future therapy to treat cartilage defects. One challenge in the field is to design carriers to efficaciously deliver biological factors in 3D scaffolds containing stem cells to appropriately guide differentiation of these cells in same scaffolds and promote specific tissue synthesis. Graphene-based 2D nanomaterials have recently attracted extensive interest for their biomedical applications as they can adsorb a plethora of biological molecules, thus offering high potential as delivery carriers. This study utilized graphene oxide (GO) flakes to adsorb transforming growth factor β3 (TGF-β3), which were then incorporated into a collagen hydrogel. Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) were encapsulated in the same gel and chondrogenic differentiation assessed. The study showed GO flakes adsorbed > 99% TGF-β3 with <1.7% release. Adsorbed TGF-β3 retained a similar conformation to its dissolved counterpart (free protein) but importantly demonstrated greater conformational stability. Smad2 phosphorylation was promoted, and higher chondrogenic gene expression and cartilage-specific extracellular matrix deposition were achieved compared to exogenously delivering TGF-β3 in culture media. Effects were sustained in long-term 28-day culture. The results demonstrate GO flakes as highly-efficient for delivering GFs in 3D to guide cells in the same scaffold and induce tissue formation. The ability of GO flakes to provide sustained local delivery makes this material attractive for tissue engineering strategies, in particular for regionally-specific MSC differentiation (e.g. osteochondral tissue engineering). STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Cartilage engineering involving stem cells in 3D scaffolds is a promising future therapy to treat cartilage defects which can lead to debilitating conditions such as osteoarthritis. However, this field faces the challenge to design delivery carriers to efficaciously deliver biological factors inside these 3D cell-containing scaffolds for appropriately-guided cell differentiation. Graphene-based 2D nanomaterials offer high potential as delivery carriers, but to date studies using them to deliver biological factors have been restricted to 2D substrates, non-scaffold cell masses, or acellular 3D scaffolds. Our study for the first time demonstrated simultaneously incorporating both human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and GO (graphene oxide)-adsorbed growth factor TGFβ3 into a 3D scaffold, where GO-adsorbed TGFβ3 enhanced chondrogenic differentiation of hMSCs and cartilage-tissue synthesis throughout the scaffold without needing to repeatedly supply TGFβ3 exogenously.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2019.07.027DOI Listing
September 2019

Microparticles for controlled growth differentiation factor 6 delivery to direct adipose stem cell-based nucleus pulposus regeneration.

J Tissue Eng Regen Med 2019 08 19;13(8):1406-1417. Epub 2019 Jun 19.

Division of Cell Matrix Biology and Regenerative Medicine, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester, UK.

Currently, there is no effective long-term treatment for intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration, making it an attractive candidate for regenerative therapies. Hydrogel delivery of adipose stem cells (ASCs) in combination with controlled release of bioactive molecules is a promising approach to halt IVD degeneration and promote regeneration. Growth differentiation factor 6 (GDF6) can induce ASC differentiation into anabolic nucleus pulposus (NP) cells and hence holds promise for IVD regeneration. Here, we optimised design of novel poly(DL-lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA)-polyethylene glycol-PLGA microparticles to control GDF6 delivery and investigated effect of released GDF6 on human ASCs differentiation to NP cells. Recombinant human (rh)GDF6 was loaded into microparticles and total protein and rhGDF6 release assessed. The effect of microparticle loading density on distribution and gel formation was investigated through scanning electron microscopy. ASC differentiation to NP cells was examined after 14 days in hydrogel culture by quantitative polymerase chain reaction, histological, and immunohistochemical staining in normoxic and IVD-like hypoxic conditions. RhGDF6 microparticles were distributed throughout gels without disrupting gelation and controlled rhGDF6 release over 14 days. Released GDF6 significantly induced NP differentiation of ASCs, with expression comparable with or exceeding media supplemented rhGDF6. Microparticle-delivered rhGDF6 also up-regulated sulphated glycosaminoglycan and aggrecan secretion in comparison with controls. In hypoxia, microparticle-delivered rhGDF6 continued to effectively induce NP gene expression and aggrecan production. This study demonstrates the effective encapsulation and controlled delivery of rhGDF6, which maintained its activity and induced ASC differentiation to NP cells and synthesis of an NP-like matrix suggesting suitability of microparticles for controlled growth factor release in regenerative strategies for treatment of IVD degeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/term.2882DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6771973PMC
August 2019

Hybrid core-shell scaffolds for bone tissue engineering.

Biomed Mater 2019 01 30;14(2):025008. Epub 2019 Jan 30.

Biomedical Engineering Division, School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, University Avenue, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, United Kingdom.

The tissue engineering applications of coaxial electrospinning are growing due to the potential increased functionality of the fibres compared to basic electrospinning. Previous studies of core and shell scaffolds have placed the active elements in the core, however, the surface response to a biomaterial affects the subsequent behaviour, thus here hydroxyapatite (HA) was added to the shell. Coaxial electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL)-polylactic acid (PLA)/HA (core-shell) scaffolds were produced in 2D sheets using a plate collector, or 3D tubes for bone tissue engineering using a rotating needle collector. The scaffolds include high hydroxyapatite content while retaining their structural and mechanical integrity. The effect of the collector type on fibre diameter, fibre alignment and mechanical properties have been evaluated, and the impact of HA incorporation on bioactivity, BMP-2 release, cell behaviour and mechanical properties for up to 12 weeks degradation were assessed. Fibre uniformity in coaxial electrospinning depends on the relative flow rate of the core and shell solutions. Using a rotating needle collector increased fibre alignment compared to a stationary collector, without affecting fibre diameter significantly, while HA content increased fibre non-uniformity. Coaxial PCL-PLA/HA fibres exhibited significantly higher bioactivity compared to PCL-PLA scaffolds due to the surface exposure of the HA particles. Apatite formation increased with increasing SBF immersion time. Coaxial tubular scaffolds with and without HA incorporation showed gradual reductions in their mechanical properties over 12 weeks in PBS or SBF but still retained their structural integrity. Coaxial scaffolds with and without HA exhibited gradual and sustained BMP-2 release and supported MSCs proliferation and differentiation with no significant difference between the two scaffolds types. These materials therefore show potential applications as bone tissue engineering scaffolds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-605X/aafbf1DOI Listing
January 2019

A Role for Neuregulin-1 in Promoting Keloid Fibroblast Migration via ErbB2-mediated Signaling.

Acta Derm Venereol 2017 Jun;97(6):675-684

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Research, Stopford Building, Manchester M13 9PT , United Kingdom.

Keloid disease is a fibroproliferative tumour characterised by aggressive local invasion, evident from a clinically and histologically active migrating margin. During combined laser capture microdissection and microarray analysis-based in situ gene expression profiling, we identified upregulation of the polypeptide growth factor neuregulin-1 (NRG1) and ErbB2 oncogene in keloid margin dermis, leading to the hypothesis that NRG1 contributed to keloid margin migration through ErbB2-mediated signalling. The aim of this study was to probe this hypothesis through functional in vitro studies. Exogenous NRG1 addition to keloid and normal skin fibroblasts altered cytokine expression profiles, significantly increased in vitro migration and keloid fibroblast Src and protein tyrosine kinase 2 (PTK2/FAK) gene expression. ErbB2 siRNA knockdown attenuated both keloid fibroblast migration and Src/PTK2 expression, which were not recovered following NRG1 administration, suggesting the NRG1/ErbB2/Src/PTK2 signaling pathway may be a novel regulator of keloid fibroblast migration, and representing a potential new therapeutic target.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2340/00015555-2587DOI Listing
June 2017

Epidermal Notch1 recruits RORγ(+) group 3 innate lymphoid cells to orchestrate normal skin repair.

Nat Commun 2016 Apr 21;7:11394. Epub 2016 Apr 21.

School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Biophysical Sciences Institute, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK.

Notch has a well-defined role in controlling cell fate decisions in the embryo and the adult epidermis and immune systems, yet emerging evidence suggests Notch also directs non-cell-autonomous signalling in adult tissues. Here, we show that Notch1 works as a damage response signal. Epidermal Notch induces recruitment of immune cell subsets including RORγ(+) ILC3s into wounded dermis; RORγ(+) ILC3s are potent sources of IL17F in wounds and control immunological and epidermal cell responses. Mice deficient for RORγ(+) ILC3s heal wounds poorly resulting from delayed epidermal proliferation and macrophage recruitment in a CCL3-dependent process. Notch1 upregulates TNFα and the ILC3 recruitment chemokines CCL20 and CXCL13. TNFα, as a Notch1 effector, directs ILC3 localization and rates of wound healing. Altogether these findings suggest that Notch is a key stress/injury signal in skin epithelium driving innate immune cell recruitment and normal skin tissue repair.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11394DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4844683PMC
April 2016

The Aldo-Keto Reductase AKR1B10 Is Up-Regulated in Keloid Epidermis, Implicating Retinoic Acid Pathway Dysregulation in the Pathogenesis of Keloid Disease.

J Invest Dermatol 2016 07 26;136(7):1500-1512. Epub 2016 Mar 26.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Research, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK; Centre for Dermatology Research, Institute of Inflammation and Repair, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. Electronic address:

Keloid disease is a recurrent fibroproliferative cutaneous tumor of unknown pathogenesis for which clinical management remains unsatisfactory. To obtain new insights into hitherto underappreciated aspects of keloid pathobiology, we took a laser capture microdissection-based, whole-genome microarray analysis approach to identify distinct keloid disease-associated gene expression patterns within defined keloid regions. Identification of the aldo-keto reductase enzyme AKR1B10 as highly up-regulated in keloid epidermis suggested that an imbalance of retinoic acid metabolism is likely associated with keloid disease. Here, we show that AKR1B10 transfection into normal human keratinocytes reproduced the abnormal retinoic acid pathway expression pattern we had identified in keloid epidermis. Cotransfection of AKR1B10 with a luciferase reporter plasmid showed reduced retinoic acid response element activity, supporting the hypothesis of retinoic acid synthesis deficiency in keloid epidermis. Paracrine signals released by AKR1B10-overexpressing keratinocytes into conditioned medium resulted in up-regulation of transforming growth factor-β1, transforming growth factor-β2, and collagens I and III in both keloid and normal skin fibroblasts, mimicking the typical profibrotic keloid profile. Our study results suggest that insufficient retinoic acid synthesis by keloid epidermal keratinocytes may contribute to the pathogenesis of keloid disease. We refocus attention on the role of injured epithelium in keloid disease and identify AKR1B10 as a potential new target in future management of keloid disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jid.2016.03.022DOI Listing
July 2016

In vitro and ex vivo analysis of hyaluronan supplementation of Integra® dermal template on human dermal fibroblasts and keratinocytes.

J Appl Biomater Funct Mater 2016 Apr 6;14(1):e9-18. Epub 2016 Apr 6.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Research, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, University of Manchester, Manchester - UK.

Purpose: Widespread application of collagen-glycosaminoglycan dermal templates in the treatment of cutaneous defects has identified the interval between initial engraftment and skin graft application as important for improvement. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of hyaluronan supplementation of Integra® dermal template on human dermal fibroblasts and keratinocytes in both in vitro and ex vivo models.

Methods: This study utilized in vitro and ex vivo cell culture techniques to investigate supplementing Integra® Regeneration Template with hyaluronan (HA), as a strategy to decrease this interval. In vitro, Integra® was HA supplemented at 0.15, 1, 1.5 and 2 mg/mL-1. Primary human dermal fibroblast (PHDF) and keratinocyte proliferation, PHDF viability, migration and HA-induced signal transduction (phosphor-MAPK Array) were assessed. Ex vivo, wound models (wound diameter 4 mm) were created within 8 mm skin biopsies. Wounds were filled with Integra® or HA supplemented Integra®. Re-epithelialization was compared through hematoxylin and eosin-stained cross-sections at 7, 14 and 21 days in culture. Model viability was assessed through lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assays.

Results: In vitro, PHDF and keratinocyte proliferation were enhanced significantly (p<0.001) when supplemented with HA. S-Phase and G2/M PHDFs in HA supplemented scaffolds increased. PHDF viability was enhanced to 72 hours culture with 1.5 mg/mL-1 HA (p = 0.016). PHDF migration was maximally enhanced at 1 mg/mL-1 and 1.5 mg/mL-1, whilst increased levels of phosphorylated Erk/MAPK proteins indicated increased metabolic activity. In ex vivo models, HA supplementation accelerated re-epithelialization at all concentrations. This ex vivo model provides a robust model for preclinical assessment of skin substitutes.

Conclusions: HA supplementation to Integra® demonstrates increased in vitro growth, viability and migration. Whilst ex vivo data suggest HA supplementation of Integra® may increase rapidity of wound closure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5301/jabfm.5000259DOI Listing
April 2016

Ex vivo evaluation of acellular and cellular collagen-glycosaminoglycan flowable matrices.

Biomed Mater 2015 Jul 16;10(4):041001. Epub 2015 Jul 16.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Research, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, 131 Princess St, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, 131 Princess St, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.

Collagen-glycosaminoglycan flowable matrices (CGFM) are increasingly finding utility in a diversifying number of cutaneous surgical procedures. Cellular in-growth and vascularisation of CGFM remain rate-limiting steps, increasing cost and decreasing efficacy. Through in vitro and ex vivo culture methods, this study investigated the improvement of injectable CGFM by the incorporation of hyaluronan (HA) and viable human cells (primary human dermal fibroblasts (PHDFs) and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs)). Ex vivo investigations included the development and evaluation of a human cutaneous wound healing model for the comparison of dermal substitutes. Cells mixed into the Integra Flowable Wound Matrix (IFWM), a commercially available CGFM, were confirmed to be viable and proliferative through MTT assays (p  <  0.05). PHDFs proliferated with greater rapidity than BM-MSCs up to 1 week in culture (p  <  0.05), with PHDF proliferation further enhanced by HA supplementation (p  <  0.05). After scaffold mixing, gene expression was not significantly altered (qRT-PCR). PHDF and BM-MSC incorporation into ex vivo wound models significantly increased re-epithelialisation rate, with maximal effects observed for BM-MSC supplemented IFWM. HA supplementation to PHDF populated IFWM increased re-epithelialisation but had no significant effect on BM-MSC populated IFWM. In conclusion, when combined with PHDF, HA increased re-epithelialisation in IFWM. BM-MSC incorporation significantly improved re-epithelialisation in ex vivo models over acellular and PHDF populated scaffolds. Viable cell incorporation into IFWM has potential to significantly benefit wound healing in chronic and acute cutaneous injuries by allowing a point-of-care matrix to be formed from autologous or allogenic cells and bioactive molecules.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-6041/10/4/041001DOI Listing
July 2015

Skin substitute-assisted repair shows reduced dermal fibrosis in acute human wounds validated simultaneously by histology and optical coherence tomography.

Wound Repair Regen 2015 Jul-Aug;23(4):483-94. Epub 2015 Jul 31.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Research, Institute of Inflammation and Repair, The University of Manchester.

Skin substitutes are heterogeneous biomaterials designed to accelerate wound healing through provision of replacement extracellular matrix. Despite growing evidence for their use in chronic wounds, the role of skin substitutes in acute wound management and their influence on fibrogenesis remains unclear. Skin substitute characteristics including biocompatibility, porosity, and elasticity strongly influence cellular behavior during wound healing. Thus, we hypothesize that structural and biomechanical variation between biomaterials may induce differential scar formation after cutaneous injury. The following human prospective cohort study was designed to investigate this premise. Four 5-mm full thickness punch biopsies were harvested from 50 volunteers. In all cases, site 1 healed by secondary intention, site 2 was treated with collagen-GAG scaffold (CG), and decellularised dermis (DCD) was applied to site 3 while tissue extracted from site 4 was replaced (autograft). Healing tissue was assessed weekly with optical coherence tomography (OCT), before being excised on days 7, 14, 21, or 28 depending on study group allocation for later histological and immunohistochemical evaluation. Extracted RNA was used in microarray analysis and polymerase chain reaction of highlighted genes. Autograft treatment resulted in minimal fibrosis confirmed immunohistochemically and with OCT through significantly lower collagen I levels (p = 0.047 and 0.03) and reduced mean grayscale values (p = 0.038 and 0.015), respectively. DCD developed intermediate scar formation with partial rete ridge reformation and reduced fasiculonodular fibrosis. It was uniquely associated with late up-regulation of matrix metalloproteinases 1 and 3, oncostatin M, and interleukin-10 (p = 0.007, 0.04, 0.019, 0.019). Regenerated dermis was significantly thicker in DCD and autografts 28 days post-injury compared with control and CG samples (p = 0.003 and < 0.0001). In conclusion, variable fibrotic outcomes were observed in skin substitute-treated wounds with reduced scarring in autograft and DCD samples compared with controls. OCT enabled concurrent assessment of wound morphology and quantification of dermal fibrosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/wrr.12308DOI Listing
June 2016

Electrospun silk fibroin fiber diameter influences in vitro dermal fibroblast behavior and promotes healing of ex vivo wound models.

J Tissue Eng 2014 18;5:2041731414551661. Epub 2014 Sep 18.

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Research, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.

Replicating the nanostructured components of extracellular matrix is a target for dermal tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Electrospinning Bombyx mori silk fibroin (BMSF) allows the production of nano- to microscale fibrous scaffolds. For BMSF electrospun scaffolds to be successful, understanding and optimizing the cellular response to material morphology is essential. Primary human dermal fibroblast response to nine variants of BMSF scaffolds composed of nano- to microscale fibers ranging from ~250 to ~1200 nm was assessed in vitro with regard to cell proliferation, viability, cellular morphology, and gene expression. BMSF support of epithelial migration was then assessed through utilization of a novel ex vivo human skin wound healing model. Scaffolds composed of the smallest diameter fibers, ~250 -300 nm, supported cell proliferation significantly more than fibers with diameters approximately 1 μm (p < 0.001). Cell morphology was observed to depart from a stellate morphology with numerous cell -fiber interactions to an elongated, fiber-aligned morphology with interaction predominately with single fibers. The expressions of extracellular matrix genes, collagen types I and III (p < 0.001), and proliferation markers, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (p < 0.001), increased with decreasing fiber diameter. The re-epithelialization of ex vivo wound models was significantly improved with the addition of BMSF electrospun scaffolds, with migratory keratinocytes incorporated into scaffolds. BMSF scaffolds with nanofibrous architectures enhanced proliferation in comparison to microfibrous scaffolds and provided an effective template for migratory keratinocytes during re-epithelialization. The results may aid in the development of effective BMSF electrospun scaffolds for wound healing applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2041731414551661DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4221927PMC
November 2014

Rheology and electrospinning of regenerated bombyx mori silk fibroin aqueous solutions.

Biomacromolecules 2014 Apr 24;15(4):1288-98. Epub 2014 Mar 24.

Manchester Institute of Biotechnology and ‡School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, University of Manchester , Manchester, United Kingdom.

Bombyx mori silk fibroin (BMSF) has received considerable research interest as a potential biomaterial owing to its excellent mechanical properties and benign, versatile material fabrication options, including electrospinning. Despite this, characterizations of regenerated BMSF aqueous solutions and electrospun materials resulting from them are still very limited in the literature. This report details the rheological characterization of regenerated aqueous BMSF solutions under shear and elongational deformation. Well-characterized regenerated BMSF solutions were then systematically electrospun over a range of concentrations and process parameters to determine their effects on electrospinning processing windows and fiber morphology. BMSF solutions could not be electrospun successfully if BMSF concentration was below 20 wt % or the relaxation time measured using the CaBER rheometer was below 0.001 s. Electrospun BMSF fiber diameter was found to increase with solution concentration when stable electrospinning was achieved. An upper threshold of 30 wt % BMSF solution was identified for the formation of fibers with a circular cross section. Adding small amount of high molecular weight poly(ethylene oxide) was an effective rheological modifier that greatly improved the electrospinnability of BMSF solutions. Electrospinning BMSF-PEO solutions over a range of parameters significantly altered the fiber products. Increasing voltage from 0.5 to 1 kV/cm was found to decrease fiber diameter by approximately 50% (p < 0.001). Flow rate was found to have a significant effect on fiber diameter, which decreased with spinneret height. The results presented here provide valuable guidance in the production of BMSF electrospun materials with specific properties for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bm4018319DOI Listing
April 2014

Interfacial rheology of natural silk fibroin at air/water and oil/water interfaces.

Langmuir 2012 Jan 5;28(1):459-67. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

State Key Laboratory of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China.

The interfacial viscoelastic behavior of natural silk fibroin at both the air/water and oil/water interfaces is reported. This natural multiblock copolymer is found to be strongly amphiphilic and forms stable films at these interfaces. The result is an interfacial layer that is rheologically complex with strong surface elastic moduli that are only slightly frequency-dependent. The kinetics of surface viscoelastic evolution are reported as functions of time for various concentrations of the spread films. Films deposited by Langmuir-Blodgett deposition were studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to reveal a fibrous structure at the interface. The production of stable O/W emulsions by silk fibroin further confirms the generation of the elastic films at the oil/water interfaces.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/la2041373DOI Listing
January 2012