Publications by authors named "Zeeshan Syedain"

23 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Evaluation of the probe burst test as a measure of strength for a biologically-engineered vascular graft.

J Mech Behav Biomed Mater 2021 07 16;119:104527. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA; Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA. Electronic address:

Biologically-engineered vascular grafts have the potential to provide a viable alternative to donor vessels and synthetic grafts. In congenital heart defect patients, the need is even more dire since neither has the capacity to provide somatic growth. To ensure clinically-used grafts perform to accepted standards, mechanical strength is a crucial consideration, with burst testing being considered as one key metric. While ISO 7198 standards for prosthetic vascular grafts provide multiple choices for burst testing, most studies with tissue-engineered grafts have been performed with only pressure burst testing. Here, we compare the performance of a decellularized tube of collagenous matrix grown from dermal fibroblasts, possessing circumferential fiber alignment and anisotropic tensile properties, as determined from pressure and probe burst testing. The two burst tests showed a strong correlation with each other and with tensile strength. Further, relatively weak and strong batches of grafts showed commensurate differences in pressure and probe burst values. Both probe burst and tensile strength measurements in the central and edge regions of the grafts were similar in value, consistent with homogenous collagen content and microstructure throughout the grafts as indicated by histology, in contrast to ovine femoral and carotid arteries similarly tested. Finite element analysis of the probe burst test pre-failure for a homogeneous, isotropic approximation of the matrix constitutive behavior indicated dependence of the (inferred) effective failure stress achievable on probe diameter. The results indicate a probe burst test in a sampled edge region of this biologically-engineered graft provides a representative measure of burst strength of the entire graft.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmbbm.2021.104527DOI Listing
July 2021

Pediatric tri-tube valved conduits made from fibroblast-produced extracellular matrix evaluated over 52 weeks in growing lambs.

Sci Transl Med 2021 03;13(585)

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.

There is a need for replacement heart valves that can grow with children. We fabricated tubes of fibroblast-derived collagenous matrix that have been shown to regenerate and grow as a pulmonary artery replacement in lambs and implemented a design for a valved conduit consisting of three tubes sewn together. Seven lambs were implanted with tri-tube valved conduits in sequential cohorts and compared to bioprosthetic conduits. Valves implanted into the pulmonary artery of two lambs of the first cohort of four animals functioned with mild regurgitation and systolic pressure drops <10 mmHg up to 52 weeks after implantation, during which the valve diameter increased from 19 mm to a physiologically normal ~25 mm. In a second cohort, the valve design was modified to include an additional tube, creating a sleeve around the tri-tube valve to counteract faster root growth relative to the leaflets. Two valves exhibited trivial-to-mild regurgitation at 52 weeks with similar diameter increases to ~25 mm and systolic pressure drops of <5 mmHg, whereas the third valve showed similar findings until moderate regurgitation was observed at 52 weeks, correlating to hyperincrease in the valve diameter. In all explanted valves, the leaflets contained interstitial cells and an endothelium progressing from the base of the leaflets and remained thin and pliable with sparse, punctate microcalcifications. The tri-tube valves demonstrated reduced calcification and improved hemodynamic function compared to clinically used pediatric bioprosthetic valves tested in the same model. This tri-tube valved conduit has potential for long-term valve growth in children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.abb7225DOI Listing
March 2021

Vascular grafts and valves that animate, made from decellularized biologically-engineered tissue tubes.

J Cardiovasc Surg (Torino) 2020 Oct 23;61(5):577-585. Epub 2020 Sep 23.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA -

Biologically-engineered matrix - a tissue that is grown in vitro from donor cells, decellularized, and stored prior to use as off-the-shelf allografts - offers a promising alternative to current cardiovascular biomaterials. This perspective reviews preclinical studies and clinical trials of vascular grafts and valves comprising biologically-engineered matrix, with a focus on those based on donor dermal fibroblast remodeling of fibrin gel with the capacity to heal and grow following recellularization, via animation of the matrix. It concludes with a discussion of related key clinical considerations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S0021-9509.20.11615-XDOI Listing
October 2020

Biologically-engineered mechanical model of a calcified artery.

Acta Biomater 2020 07 16;110:164-174. Epub 2020 Apr 16.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States; Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States. Electronic address:

Vascular calcification is a commonly occurring pathological process and is recognized as an independent prognostic marker for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Recent progress in developing novel therapies to modify vascular calcification is critically hampered due to the lack of reliable in vitro experimental models that recapitulate the structural and mechanical attributes of calcified arteries. In this study, we show the ability to model the behavior of diffuse vascular calcification in vitro using biologically-engineered grafts approximating the composition, structure, and mechanical properties of arteries. Transmural calcification was achieved by exposing the acellular grafts of collagenous ECM to complete medium containing elevated Calcium (Ca) and Phosphate (P) concentrations. It was found that increasing the serum concentration from 2% to 10% increased the extent and degree of calcification based on histochemical, ultrastructural, chemical and thermal analyses. The presence of variably-sized spherical calcific deposits within the matrix further confirmed its morphological similarity to pathologic calcification. Mechanical testing demonstrated up to a 16-fold decrease in compliance due to the calcification, consistent with prior reports for calcified arteries. The model developed thus has potential to improve the design and development of interventional devices and therapies for the diagnosis and treatment of arterial calcification. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: The presence of extensive vascular calcification makes angiographic/interventional procedures difficult due to reduced arterial compliance. Current attempts to develop safe and effective non-surgical adjunctive techniques to treat calcified arteries are largely limited by the lack of a physiologically relevant testing platform that mimics the structural and mechanical features of vascular calcification. Herein, we developed an off-the-shelf calcified artery model, with the goal to accelerate the pre-clinical development of novel therapies for the management of arterial calcification. To the extent of our knowledge, this is the first report of an in vitro tissue-engineered model of diffuse arterial calcification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2020.04.018DOI Listing
July 2020

Tissue-engineered transcatheter vein valve.

Biomaterials 2019 09 31;216:119229. Epub 2019 May 31.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA; Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA. Electronic address:

Chronic venous insufficiency affects over 2 million patients in the US alone, with severe cases involving thousands of patients with chronic leg ulcers and potential amputation. Current treatment options are limited, with surgical repair of vein valves being the most effective but challenging solution. A transcatheter vein valve made from a biologically-engineered matrix possessing the ability to regenerate has the potential to provide both valve function and long-term hemocompatibility and durability because the matrix becomes endothelialized and populated with host tissue cells. We have developed a novel tissue-engineered transcatheter vein valve (TEVV) on a Nitinol stent and demonstrated function and durability in vitro. Tissue was grown from fibroblasts in fibrin gel so as to embed the stent, with a tubular extension of the engineered tissue from one end of the stent that was stitched along opposite sides and everted into the stent to form a bileaflet valve. Following decellularization, to create an "off-the-shelf" TEVV comprised of the resulting collagenous matrix, it was tested in a pulse duplicator to evaluate hydrodynamic properties for a range of flow rates. The TEVV was shown to have forward pressure drops in the range of 2-4 mmHg, low closing volume, and nil regurgitation. Further hydrodynamic tests were performed after crimping and then again after 1 million cycle durability testing, showing no degradation of valve performance or any visual damage to the matrix. The TEVV held over 600 mmHg backpressure after the durability testing, ensuring the valve would withstand pressure spikes well outside of the normal in vivo range. Catheter-based delivery into the ovine iliac vein demonstrated TEVV closing 2 weeks p.o. and endothelialization without thrombosis 8 weeks p.o.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2019.119229DOI Listing
September 2019

A completely biological "off-the-shelf" arteriovenous graft that recellularizes in baboons.

Sci Transl Med 2017 Nov;9(414)

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.

Prosthetic arteriovenous grafts (AVGs) conventionally used for hemodialysis are associated with inferior primary patency rates and increased risk of infection compared with autogenous vein grafts. We tissue-engineered an AVG grown from neonatal human dermal fibroblasts entrapped in bovine fibrin gel that is then decellularized. This graft is both "off-the-shelf" (nonliving) and completely biological. Grafts that are 6 mm in diameter and about 15 cm in length were evaluated in a baboon model of hemodialysis access in an axillary-cephalic or axillary-brachial upper arm AVG construction procedure. Daily antiplatelet therapy was given. Grafts underwent both ultrasound assessment and cannulation at 1, 2, 3, and 6 months and were then explanted for analysis. Excluding grafts with cephalic vein outflow that rapidly clotted during development of the model, 3- and 6-month primary patency rates were 83% (5 of 6) and 60% (3 of 5), respectively. At explant, patent grafts were found to be extensively recellularized (including smoothelin-positive smooth muscle cells with a developing endothelium on the luminal surface). We observed no calcifications, loss of burst strength, or outflow stenosis, which are common failure modes of other graft materials. There was no overt immune response. We thus demonstrate the efficacy of an off-the-shelf AVG that is both acellular and completely biological.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aan4209DOI Listing
November 2017

Tissue engineering of acellular vascular grafts capable of somatic growth in young lambs.

Nat Commun 2016 09 27;7:12951. Epub 2016 Sep 27.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.

Treatment of congenital heart defects in children requiring right ventricular outflow tract reconstruction typically involves multiple open-heart surgeries because all existing graft materials have no growth potential. Here we present an 'off-the-shelf' vascular graft grown from donor fibroblasts in a fibrin gel to address this critical unmet need. In a proof-of-concept study, the decellularized grafts are implanted as a pulmonary artery replacement in three young lambs and evaluated to adulthood. Longitudinal ultrasounds document dimensional growth of the grafts. The lambs show normal growth, increasing body weight by 366% and graft diameter and volume by 56% and 216%, respectively. Explanted grafts display physiological strength and stiffness, complete lumen endothelialization and extensive population by mature smooth muscle cells. The grafts also show substantial elastin deposition and a 465% increase in collagen content, without signs of calcification, aneurysm or stenosis. Collectively, our data support somatic growth of this completely biological graft.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12951DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5052664PMC
September 2016

Implantation of a Tissue-Engineered Tubular Heart Valve in Growing Lambs.

Ann Biomed Eng 2017 Feb 11;45(2):439-451. Epub 2016 Apr 11.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 312 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, USA.

Current pediatric heart valve replacement options are suboptimal because they are incapable of somatic growth. Thus, children typically have multiple surgeries to replace outgrown valves. In this study, we present the in vivo function and growth potential of our tissue-engineered pediatric tubular valve. The valves were fabricated by sewing two decellularized engineered tissue tubes together in a prescribed pattern using degradable sutures and subsequently implanted into the main pulmonary artery of growing lambs. Valve function was monitored using periodic ultrasounds after implantation throughout the duration of the study. The valves functioned well up to 8 weeks, 4 weeks beyond the suture strength half-life, after which their insufficiency index worsened. Histology from the explanted valves revealed extensive host cell invasion within the engineered root and commencing from the leaflet surfaces. These cells expressed multiple phenotypes, including endothelial, and deposited elastin and collagen IV. Although the tubes fused together along the degradable suture line as designed, the leaflets shortened compared to their original height. This shortening is hypothesized to result from inadequate fusion at the commissures prior to suture degradation. With appropriate commissure reinforcement, this novel heart valve may provide the somatic growth potential desired for a pediatric valve replacement.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5064828PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10439-016-1605-7DOI Listing
February 2017

Evaluation of a Device for Intra-Pulmonary Aerosol Generation and Delivery.

Aerosol Sci Technol 2015 Sep 6;49(9):747-752. Epub 2015 Jul 6.

Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Division of Critical Care, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

For infants born with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), liquid bolus delivery of surfactant administered through an endotracheal tube is common practice. While this method is generally effective, complications such as transient hypoxia, hypercapnia, and altered cerebral blood flow may occur. Aerosolized surfactant therapy has been explored as an alternative. Unfortunately, past efforts have led to disappointing results as aerosols were generated outside the lungs with significant pharyngeal deposition and minimal intrapulmonary instillation. A novel aerosol generator (Microjet™) is evaluated herein for intrapulmonary aerosol generation within an endotracheal tube and tested with Curosurf and Infasurf surfactants. Compared with other aerosol delivery devices, this process utilizes low air flow (range 0.01-0.2 L/min) that is ideal for limiting potential barotrauma to the premature newborn lung. The mass mean diameter (MMD) of the particles for both tested surfactants was less than 4 μm, which is ideal for both uniform and distal lung delivery. As an indicator of phospholipid function, surfactant surface tension was measured before and after aerosol formation; with no significant difference. Moreover, this device has an outside diameter of <1mm, which permits insertion into an endotracheal tube (of even 2.0 mm). In the premature infant where intravenous access is either technically challenging or difficult, aerosol drug delivery may provide an alternative route in patient resuscitation, stabilization and care. Other potential applications of this type of device include the delivery of nutrients, antibiotics, and analgesics via the pulmonary route.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02786826.2015.1067670DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4753072PMC
September 2015

6-month aortic valve implantation of an off-the-shelf tissue-engineered valve in sheep.

Biomaterials 2015 Dec 11;73:175-84. Epub 2015 Sep 11.

Departments of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, United States; Department of Chemical Engineering & Material Science, University of Minnesota, United States. Electronic address:

Diseased aortic valves often require replacement, with over 30% of the current aortic valve surgeries performed in patients who will outlive a bioprosthetic valve. While many promising tissue-engineered valves have been created in the lab using the cell-seeded polymeric scaffold paradigm, none have been successfully tested long-term in the aortic position of a pre-clinical model. The high pressure gradients and dynamic flow across the aortic valve leaflets require engineering a tissue that has the strength and compliance to withstand high mechanical demand without compromising normal hemodynamics. A long-term preclinical evaluation of an off-the-shelf tissue-engineered aortic valve in the sheep model is presented here. The valves were made from a tube of decellularized cell-produced matrix mounted on a frame. The engineered matrix is primarily composed of collagen, with strength and organization comparable to native valve leaflets. In vitro testing showed excellent hemodynamic performance with low regurgitation, low systolic pressure gradient, and large orifice area. The implanted valves showed large-scale leaflet motion and maintained effective orifice area throughout the duration of the 6-month implant, with no calcification. After 24 weeks implantation (over 17 million cycles), the valves showed no change in tensile mechanical properties. In addition, histology and DNA quantitation showed repopulation of the engineered matrix with interstitial-like cells and endothelialization. New extracellular matrix deposition, including elastin, further demonstrates positive tissue remodeling in addition to recellularization and valve function. Long-term implantation in the sheep model resulted in functionality, matrix remodeling, and recellularization, unprecedented results for a tissue-engineered aortic valve.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.09.016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5520964PMC
December 2015

Pediatric tubular pulmonary heart valve from decellularized engineered tissue tubes.

Biomaterials 2015 Sep 16;62:88-94. Epub 2015 May 16.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, USA; Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science, University of Minnesota, USA. Electronic address:

Pediatric patients account for a small portion of the heart valve replacements performed, but a pediatric pulmonary valve replacement with growth potential remains an unmet clinical need. Herein we report the first tubular heart valve made from two decellularized, engineered tissue tubes attached with absorbable sutures, which can meet this need, in principle. Engineered tissue tubes were fabricated by allowing ovine dermal fibroblasts to replace a sacrificial fibrin gel with an aligned, cell-produced collagenous matrix, which was subsequently decellularized. Previously, these engineered tubes became extensively recellularized following implantation into the sheep femoral artery. Thus, a tubular valve made from these tubes may be amenable to recellularization and, ideally, somatic growth. The suture line pattern generated three equi-spaced leaflets in the inner tube, which collapsed inward when exposed to back pressure, per tubular valve design. Valve testing was performed in a pulse duplicator system equipped with a secondary flow loop to allow for root distention. All tissue-engineered valves exhibited full leaflet opening and closing, minimal regurgitation (<5%), and low systolic pressure gradients (<2.5 mmHg) under pulmonary conditions. Valve performance was maintained under various trans-root pressure gradients and no tissue damage was evident after 2 million cycles of fatigue testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.05.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4490908PMC
September 2015

Blood outgrowth endothelial cells alter remodeling of completely biological engineered grafts implanted into the sheep femoral artery.

J Cardiovasc Transl Res 2014 Mar 16;7(2):242-9. Epub 2014 Jan 16.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 7-114 NHH, 312 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, USA.

Hemocompatibility of tissue-engineered vascular grafts remains a major hurdle to clinical utility for small-diameter grafts. Here we assessed the feasibility of using autologous blood outgrowth endothelial cells to create an endothelium via lumenal seeding on completely biological, decellularized engineered allografts prior to implantation in the sheep femoral artery. The 4-mm-diameter, 2- to 3-cm-long grafts were fabricated from fibrin gel remodeled into an aligned tissue tube in vitro by ovine dermal fibroblasts prior to decellularization. Decellularized grafts pre-seeded with blood outgrowth endothelial cells (n = 3) retained unprecedented (>95 %) monolayer coverage 1 h post-implantation and had greater endothelial coverage, smaller wall thickness, and more basement membrane after 9-week implantation, including a final week without anti-coagulation therapy, compared with contralateral non-seeded controls. These results support the use of autologous blood outgrowth endothelial cells as a viable source of endothelial cells for creating an endothelium with biological function on decellularized engineered allografts made from fibroblast-remodeled fibrin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12265-013-9539-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4213739PMC
March 2014

Implantation of completely biological engineered grafts following decellularization into the sheep femoral artery.

Tissue Eng Part A 2014 Jun 25;20(11-12):1726-34. Epub 2014 Feb 25.

1 Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota , Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The performance of completely biological, decellularized engineered allografts in a sheep model was evaluated to establish clinical potential of these unique arterial allografts. The 4-mm-diameter, 2-3-cm-long grafts were fabricated from fibrin gel remodeled into an aligned tissue tube in vitro by ovine dermal fibroblasts. Decellularization and subsequent storage had little effect on graft properties, with burst pressure exceeding 4000 mmHg and the same compliance as the ovine femoral artery. Grafts were implanted interpositionally in the femoral artery of six sheep (n=9), with contralateral sham controls (n=3). At 8 weeks (n=5) and 24 weeks (n=4), all grafts were patent and showed no evidence of dilatation or mineralization. Mid-graft lumen diameter was unchanged. Extensive recellularization occurred, with most cells expressing αSMA. Endothelialization was complete by 24 weeks with elastin deposition evident. These completely biological grafts possessed circumferential alignment/mechanical anisotropy characteristic of native arteries and were cultured only 5 weeks prior to decellularization and storage as "off-the-shelf" grafts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ten.TEA.2013.0550DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4029045PMC
June 2014

Tubular heart valves from decellularized engineered tissue.

Ann Biomed Eng 2013 Dec 30;41(12):2645-54. Epub 2013 Jul 30.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 7-114 NHH, 312 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, USA.

A novel tissue-engineered heart valve (TEHV) was fabricated from a decellularized tissue tube mounted on a frame with three struts, which upon back-pressure cause the tube to collapse into three coapting "leaflets." The tissue was completely biological, fabricated from ovine fibroblasts dispersed within a fibrin gel, compacted into a circumferentially aligned tube on a mandrel, and matured using a bioreactor system that applied cyclic distension. Following decellularization, the resulting tissue possessed tensile mechanical properties, mechanical anisotropy, and collagen content that were comparable to native pulmonary valve leaflets. When mounted on a custom frame and tested within a pulse duplicator system, the tubular TEHV displayed excellent function under both aortic and pulmonary conditions, with minimal regurgitant fractions and transvalvular pressure gradients at peak systole, as well as well as effective orifice areas exceeding those of current commercially available valve replacements. Short-term fatigue testing of one million cycles with pulmonary pressure gradients was conducted without significant change in mechanical properties and no observable macroscopic tissue deterioration. This study presents an attractive potential alternative to current tissue valve replacements due to its avoidance of chemical fixation and utilization of a tissue conducive to recellularization by host cell infiltration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10439-013-0872-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3847912PMC
December 2013

Decellularized tissue-engineered heart valve leaflets with recellularization potential.

Tissue Eng Part A 2013 Mar 10;19(5-6):759-69. Epub 2012 Dec 10.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Tissue-engineered heart valves (TEHV) have been proposed as a promising solution for the clinical needs of pediatric patients. In vivo studies have shown TEHV leaflet contraction and regurgitation after several months of implantation. This has been attributed to contractile cells utilized to produce the extracellular matrix (ECM) during TEHV culture. Here, we utilized such cells to develop a mature ECM in a fibrin-based scaffold that generates commissural alignment in TEHV leaflets and then removed these cells using detergents. Further, we evaluated recellularization with potentially noncontractile cells. A tissue-engineered leaflet model was developed with mechanical anisotropy and tensile properties comparable to an ovine pulmonary valve leaflet. No change in tensile properties occurred after decellularization using 1% sodium dodecyl sulfate and 1% Triton detergent treatment. Cell removal was verified by DNA quantitation and western blot analysis for cellular proteins. Histological and scanning electron microscope imaging showed no significant change in the ECM organization and microstructure. We further tested the recellularization potential of decellularized leaflets by seeding human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) on the surface of the leaflets and evaluated them at 1 and 3 weeks in two culture conditions. One medium (M1) was chosen to maintain the MSC phenotype while a second medium (M2) was used to potentially differentiate cells to an interstitial cell phenotype. Cellular quantitation showed that the engineered leaflets were recellularized to the highest concentration with M2 followed by M1, with minimum cell invasion of decellularized native leaflets. Histology showed cellular invasion throughout the thickness of the leaflets in M2 and partial invasion in M1. hMSC stained positive for MSC markers, but also for α-smooth muscle actin in both media at 1 week, with no presence of MSC markers at 3 weeks with the exception of CD90. These results show that engineered leaflets, while having similar tensile properties and collagen content compared to native leaflets, have better recellularization potential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ten.TEA.2012.0365DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3566676PMC
March 2013

Hypoxic culture and insulin yield improvements to fibrin-based engineered tissue.

Tissue Eng Part A 2012 Apr 5;18(7-8):785-95. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.

We examined the effect of insulin supplementation and hypoxic culture (2% vs. 20% oxygen tension) on collagen deposition and mechanical properties of fibrin-based tubular tissue constructs seeded with neonatal human dermal fibroblasts. The results presented here demonstrate that constructs cultured under hypoxic conditions with insulin supplementation increased in collagen density by approximately five-fold and both the ultimate tensile strength (UTS) and modulus by more than three-fold compared with normoxic (20% oxygen tension), noninsulin supplemented controls. In addition, collagen deposited on a per-cell basis increased by approximately four-fold. Interaction was demonstrated for hypoxia and insulin in combination in terms of UTS and collagen production on a per-cell basis. This interaction resulted from two distinct processes involved in collagen fibril formation. Western blot analysis showed that insulin supplementation alone increased Akt phosphorylation and the combined treatment increased collagen prolyl-4-hydroxylase. These molecules are distinct regulators of collagen deposition, having an impact at both the transcriptional and posttranslational modification stages of collagen fibril formation that, in turn, increase collagen density in the tissue constructs. These findings highlight the potential of utilizing insulin supplementation and hypoxic culture in combination to increase the mechanical strength and stiffness of fibrin-based engineered tissues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ten.TEA.2011.0017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3313606PMC
April 2012

TGF-β1 diminishes collagen production during long-term cyclic stretching of engineered connective tissue: implication of decreased ERK signaling.

J Biomech 2011 Mar 20;44(5):848-55. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, University of Minnesota, MN 55455, USA.

Cyclic stretching and growth factors like TGF-β have been used to enhance extracellular matrix (ECM) production by cells in engineered tissue to achieve requisite mechanical properties. In this study, the effects of TGF-β1 were evaluated during long-term cyclic stretching of fibrin-based tubular constructs seeded with neonatal human dermal fibroblasts. Samples were evaluated at 2, 5, and 7 weeks for tensile mechanical properties and ECM deposition. At 2 weeks, +TGF-β1 samples had 101% higher collagen concentration but no difference in ultimate tensile strength (UTS) or modulus compared to -TGF-β1 samples. However, at weeks 5 and 7, -TGF-β1 samples had higher UTS/modulus and collagen concentration, but lower elastin concentration compared to +TGF-β1 samples. The collagen was better organized in -TGF-β1 samples based on picrosirius red staining. Western blot analysis at weeks 5 and 7 showed increased phosphorylation of ERK in -TGF-β1 samples, which correlated with higher collagen deposition. The TGF-β1 effects were further evaluated by western blot for αSMA and SMAD2/3 expression, which were 16-fold and 10-fold higher in +TGF-β1 samples, respectively. The role of TGF-β1 activated p38 in inhibiting phosphorylation of ERK was evaluated by treating samples with SB203580, an inhibitor of p38 activation. SB203580-treated cells showed increased phosphorylation of ERK after 1 hour of stretching and increased collagen production after 1 week of stretching, demonstrating an inhibitory role of activated p38 via TGF-β1 signaling during cyclic stretching. One advantage of TGF-β1 treatment was the 4-fold higher elastin deposition in samples at 7 weeks. Further cyclic stretching experiments were thus conducted with constructs cultured for 5 weeks without TGF-β1 to obtain improved tensile properties followed by TGF-β1 supplementation for 2 weeks to obtain increased elastin content, which correlated with a reduction in loss of pre-stress during preconditioning for tensile testing, indicating functional elastin. This study shows that a sequential stimulus approach - cyclic stretching with delayed TGF-β1 supplementation - can be used to engineer tissue with desirable tensile and elastic properties.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.12.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3061833PMC
March 2011

Implantable arterial grafts from human fibroblasts and fibrin using a multi-graft pulsed flow-stretch bioreactor with noninvasive strength monitoring.

Biomaterials 2011 Jan 8;32(3):714-22. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.

Tissue-engineered arteries based on entrapment of human dermal fibroblasts in fibrin gel yield completely biological vascular grafts that possess circumferential alignment characteristic of native arteries and essential to their mechanical properties. A bioreactor was developed to condition six grafts in the same culture medium while being subjected to similar cyclic distension and transmural flow resulting from pulsed flow distributed among the graft lumens via a manifold. The lumenal pressure and circumferential stretch were noninvasively monitored and used to calculate stiffness in the range of 80-120 mmHg and then to successfully predict graft burst strength. The length of the graft was incrementally shortened during bioreactor culture to maintain circumferential alignment and achieve mechanical anisotropy comparable to native arteries. After 7-9 weeks of bioreactor culture, the fibrin-based grafts were extensively remodeled by the fibroblasts into circumferentially-aligned tubes of collagen and other extracellular matrix with burst pressures in the range of 1400-1600 mmHg and compliance comparable to native arteries. The tissue suture retention force was also suitable for implantation in the rat model and, with poly(lactic acid) sewing rings entrapped at both ends of the graft, also in the ovine model. The strength achieved with a biological scaffold in such a short duration is unprecedented for an engineered artery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.09.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3042747PMC
January 2011

Controlled compaction with ruthenium-catalyzed photochemical cross-linking of fibrin-based engineered connective tissue.

Biomaterials 2009 Dec 25;30(35):6695-701. Epub 2009 Sep 25.

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 421 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.

Tissue engineering utilizing fibrin gel as a scaffold has the advantage of creating a completely biological replacement. Cells seeded in a fibrin gel can induce fibril alignment by traction forces when subjected to appropriate mechanical constraints. While gel compaction is key to successful tissue fabrication, excessive compaction can result due to low gel stiffness. This study investigated using ruthenium-catalyzed photo-cross-linking as a method to increase gel stiffness in order to minimize over-compaction. Cross-links between the abundant tyrosine molecules that comprise fibrin were created upon exposure to blue light. Cross-linking was effective in increasing the stiffness of the fibrin gel by 93% with no adverse effects on cell viability. Long-term culture of cross-linked tubular constructs revealed no detrimental effects on cell proliferation or collagen deposition due to cross-linking. After 4 weeks of cyclic distension, the cross-linked samples were more than twice as long as non-cross-linked controls, with similar cell and collagen contents. However, the cross-linked samples required a longer incubation period to achieve a UTS and modulus comparable to controls. This study shows that photo-cross-linking is an attractive option to stiffen the initial fibrin gel and thereby reduce cell-induced compaction, which can allow for longer incubation periods and thus more tissue growth without compaction below a useful size.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.08.039DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2853233PMC
December 2009

Controlled cyclic stretch bioreactor for tissue-engineered heart valves.

Biomaterials 2009 Sep 26;30(25):4078-84. Epub 2009 May 26.

Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, University of Minnesota, USA.

A tissue-engineered heart valve (TEHV) represents the ultimate valve replacement, especially for juvenile patients given its growth potential. To date, most TEHV bioreactors have been developed based on pulsed flow of culture medium through the valve lumen to induce strain in the leaflets. Using a strategy for controlled cyclic stretching of tubular constructs reported previously, we developed a controlled cyclic stretch bioreactor for TEHVs that leads to improved tensile and compositional properties. The TEHV is mounted inside a latex tube, which is then cyclically pressurized with culture medium. The root and leaflets stretch commensurately with the latex, the stretching being dictated by the stiffer latex and thus controllable. Medium is also perfused through the lumen at a slow rate in a flow loop to provide nutrient delivery. Fibrin-based TEHVs prepared with human dermal fibroblasts were subjected to three weeks of cyclic stretching with incrementally increasing strain amplitude. The TEHV possessed the tensile stiffness and stiffness anisotropy of leaflets from sheep pulmonary valves and could withstand cyclic pulmonary pressures with similar distension as for a sheep pulmonary artery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.04.027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2762550PMC
September 2009

Cyclic distension of fibrin-based tissue constructs: evidence of adaptation during growth of engineered connective tissue.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008 May 24;105(18):6537-42. Epub 2008 Apr 24.

Departments of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.

Tissue engineering provides a means to create functional living tissue replacements. Here, we examine the effects of 3 weeks of cyclic distension (CD) on fibrin-based tubular tissue constructs seeded with porcine valve interstitial cells. CD with circumferential strain amplitude ranging from 2.5% to 20% was applied to evaluate the effects of CD on fibrin remodeling into tissue. We hypothesized that during long-term CD cells adapt to cyclic strain of constant strain amplitude (constant CD), diminishing tissue growth. We thus also subjected constructs to CD with strain amplitude that was incremented from 5% to 15% over the 3 weeks of CD [incremental CD (ICD)]. For constant CD, improvement occurred in construct mechanical properties and composition, peaking at 15% strain: ultimate tensile strength (UTS) and tensile modulus increased 47% and 45%, respectively, over statically incubated controls (to 1.1 and 4.7 MPa, respectively); collagen density increased 29% compared with controls (to 27 mg/ml). ICD further improved outcomes. UTS increased 98% and modulus increased 62% compared with the largest values with constant CD, and collagen density increased 34%. Only in the case of ICD was the ratio of collagen content to cell number greater (70%) than controls, consistent with increased collagen deposition per cell. Studies with human dermal fibroblasts showed similar improvements, generalizing the findings, and revealed a 255% increase in extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling for ICD vs. constant CD. These results suggest cell adaptation may limit conventional strategies of stretching with constant strain amplitude and that new approaches might optimize bioreactor operation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0711217105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2373356PMC
May 2008

Protein fouling of virus filtration membranes: effects of membrane orientation and operating conditions.

Biotechnol Prog 2006 Jul-Aug;22(4):1163-9

Department of Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, 16802, USA.

The capacity of virus filters used in the purification of therapeutic proteins is determined by the rate and extent of membrane fouling. Current virus filtration membranes have a complex multilayer structure that can be used with either the skin-side up or with the skin-side facing away from the feed, but there is currently no quantitative understanding of the effects of membrane orientation or operating conditions on the filtration performance. Experiments were performed using Millipore's Viresolve 180 membrane under both constant pressure and constant flux operation with sulfhydryl-modified BSA used as a model protein. The capacity with the skin-side up was greater during operation with constant flux and at low transmembrane pressures, with the flux decline or pressure rise due primarily to osmotic pressure effects. In contrast, data obtained with the skin-side down showed a slower, steady increase in total resistance with the cumulative filtrate volume, with minimal contribution from osmotic pressure. The capacity with the skin-side down was significantly greater than that with the skin-side up, reflecting the different fouling mechanisms in the different membrane orientations. These results provide important insights for the design and operation of virus filtration membranes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bp050350vDOI Listing
October 2007