Biomaterials (v.28, #1)

2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine (MPC)-immobilized collagen gel was developed. Using 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethyl aminopropyl)-1-carbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS), we cross-linked a collagen film in 2-morpholinoethane sulfonic acid (MES) buffer (EN gel). EN gel was prepared under both pH 4.5 and pH 9.0 in order to observe changes in cross-linking ability. To cross-link MPC to collagen gel, poly(MPC-co-methacrylic acid) (PMA) having a carboxyl group side chain was chosen. E/N gel was added to the MES buffer having pre-NHS activated PMA to make MPC-immobilized collagen gel (MiC gel). MiC gel was prepared under both acidic and alkaline conditions to observe the changes in the cross-linking ability of PMA. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy showed that the PMA was cross-linked with collagen under both acidic and alkaline conditions. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) results showed that the shrinkage temperature increased for the MiC gels and that the increase would be greater for the MiC gel prepared under alkaline conditions. The data showed that swelling would be less when the MiC gel was prepared under alkaline conditions. The biodegradation caused by collagenase was suppressed for the MiC gel prepared under alkaline conditions due to stable inter- and intrahelical networks.
Keywords: Collagen; Phospholipid; Cross-linking; Surface modification;

In this study, biodegradable poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) (70/30) films and scaffolds were first treated with oxygen plasma and then incubated in a modified simulated body fluid 1.5SBF0 to prepare a bone-like apatite layer. The formation of the apatite and its influence on osteoblast-like cells growth were investigated. It was found that the bone-like apatite formability of PLGA(70/30) was enhanced by plasma pretreatment. The changes of surface chemistry and surface topography induced by oxygen plasma treatment were both effective for apatite formation. The apatite formability increased with increasing plasma-treating time. Under a treating condition of 20 W for 30 min, oxygen plasma treatment could penetrate into the inner scaffold. After 6 days incubation, the apatite formed in plasma-treated scaffold was better distributed than in untreated scaffold, and the weight and mechanical strength of the plasma-treated scaffold were both enhanced. Compared with PLGA(70/30), the apatite layer formed on oxygen plasma-treated PLGA(70/30) surface enhanced adhesion and proliferation of OCT-1 osteoblast-like cell, but had no significant effect on cell's ALP activity at day 7. A prolonged investigation is being in process to further verify the bone-like apatite effects on osteogenic differentiation.
Keywords: Apatite; Simulated body fluid; Oxygen-plasma; Poly(lactide-co-glycolide); Surface topography; Surface chemistry;

Novel nitric oxide (NO) generating polymeric materials possessing immobilized organoselenium species are described. These materials mimic the capability of small organoselenium molecules as well as a known selenium-containing enzyme, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), by catalytically decomposing S-nitrosothiols (RSNO) into NO and the corresponding free thiol. Model polymeric materials, e.g., cellulose filter paper and polyethylenimine, are modified with an appropriate diselenide species covalently linked to the polymeric structures. Such organoselenium (RSe)-derivatized polymers are shown to generate NO from RSNO species in the presence of an appropriate thiol reducing agent (e.g., glutathione). The likely involvement of both immobilized selenol/selenolate and diselenide species for NO production is suggested via a catalytic pathway, as deduced in separate homogeneous solution phase experiments using non-immobilized forms of small organodiselenide species. Preliminary experiments with the new RSe-polymers clearly demonstrate the ability of such materials to generate NO from RSNO species even after the contact with fresh animal plasma. It is anticipated that such NO generation from endogenous S-nitrosothiols in blood could render RSe-containing polymeric materials more thromboresistant when in contact with flowing blood, owing to NO's ability to inhibit platelet adhesion and activation.
Keywords: Nitric oxide; Biocompatibility; Surface modification; Cellulose; Biosensor;

Surface modification of poly(hydroxybutyrate) films to control cell–matrix adhesion by Tilo Pompe; Kristin Keller; Gisela Mothes; Mirko Nitschke; Mark Teese; Ralf Zimmermann; Carsten Werner (28-37).
Tailoring surface properties of degradable polymer scaffolds is key to progress in various tissue engineering strategies. Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate) thin films were modified by low pressure ammonia plasma, low pressure water vapour plasma, or immersion in a sodium hydroxide solution to elaborate means to control the cell–matrix adhesion of human umbilical cord vein endothelial cells grown on these materials. Fibronectin (FN) heteroexchange and cell adhesion were correlated to the physicochemical characteristics of the modified polymer surfaces which were investigated by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning force microscopy (SFM), electrokinetic measurements, and contact angle measurements. All treatments increased the hydrophilicity of the polymer samples, which could be accounted to newly created amine or carboxyl functionalities for ammonia plasma or water vapour plasma treatments, respectively, and ester hydrolysis for treatments with alkaline aqueous solutions. Main features of cell adhesion and FN reorganisation—evaluated after 1 h and after 5 days—could be attributed to the anchorage strength of pre-coated FN layers at the polymer surface, which was, in turn found to be triggered by the type of modification applied. In line with earlier studies referring to different materials cell adhesion and matrix reorganisation were shown to be sensitively controlled through the physicochemical profile of poly(hydroxybutyrate) surfaces.
Keywords: Polyhydroxybutyric acid; Fibronectin; Endothelial cells; Extracellular matrix (ECM);

Modulation of the human bone cell cycle by calcium ion-implantation of titanium by Saima N. Nayab; Frances H. Jones; Irwin Olsen (38-44).
Ca ion implantation of Ti surfaces has previously been reported to enhances osseointegration in vivo. Although the mechanisms underlying the response of bone cells to these novel surfaces still remain unclear, it is possible that Ca ion-implanted Ti (Ca–Ti) may influence the growth of new bone by modulating the progression of the cell cycle. In the present study we have, therefore, examined the precise effects of Ca ion-implantation of Ti on the bone-like MG-63 cell line in vitro. The results of flow cytometry analysis showed that this surface markedly enhanced the proportion of cells which expressed Ki-67, a cell proliferation-associated nuclear antigen, compared with cells grown on the non-implanted Ti (control) surface. In addition, cultures grown on Ca–Ti and synchronized at the G1/S boundary by hydroxyurea more rapidly re-entered and progressed through the S and G2/M phases of the cell cycle than their counterparts on Ti. Ca ion-implantation also significantly increased the numbers of mitotic cells. These results thus show that alteration of the surface chemistry of Ti by high-energy implantation with Ca ion was able to substantially modulate the progression of the bone cell cycle, and suggest a possible means of enhancing the response of bone cells to implant materials.
Keywords: Titanium; Calcium-implantation; MG-63 cells; Ki-67; Cell cycle;

The mechanical properties and osteoconductivity of hydroxyapatite bone scaffolds with multi-scale porosity by Joseph R. Woodard; Amanda J. Hilldore; Sheeny K. Lan; C.J. Park; Abby W. Morgan; Jo Ann C. Eurell; Sherrie G. Clark; Matthew B. Wheeler; Russell D. Jamison; Amy J. Wagoner Johnson (45-54).
The relative osteoconductivity and the change in the mechanical properties of hydroxyapatite (HA) scaffolds with multi-scale porosity were compared to scaffolds with a single pore size. Non-microporous (NMP) scaffolds contained only macroporosity (250–350 μm) and microporous (MP) scaffolds contained both macroporosity and microporosity (2–8 μm). Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) was incorporated into all scaffolds via gelatin microspheres prior to implantation into the latissimus dorsi muscle of Yorkshire pigs. After 8 weeks, only the MP scaffolds contained bone. The result demonstrates the efficacy of the MP scaffolds as drug carriers. Implanted and as-fabricated scaffolds were compared using histology, microcomputed tomography, scanning electron microscopy, and compression testing. Implanted scaffolds exhibited a stress–strain response similar to that of cancellous bone with strengths between those of cancellous and cortical bone. The strength and stiffness of implanted NMP scaffolds decreased by 15% and 46%, respectively. Implanted MP scaffolds lost 30% of their strength and 31% of their stiffness. Bone arrested crack propagation effectively in MP scaffolds. The change in mechanical behavior is discussed and the study demonstrates the importance of scaffold microporosity on bone ingrowth and on the mechanical behavior of HA implant materials.
Keywords: Hydroxyapatite; Mechanical properties; Porosity; Rapid prototyping; Bone ingrowth;

Long-term stable fibrin gels for cartilage engineering by Daniela Eyrich; Ferdinand Brandl; Bernhard Appel; Hinrich Wiese; Gerhard Maier; Magdalene Wenzel; Rainer Staudenmaier; Achim Goepferich; Torsten Blunk (55-65).
It is essential that hydrogel scaffold systems maintain long-term shape stability and mechanical integrity for applications in cartilage tissue engineering. Within this study, we aimed at the improvement of a commercially available fibrin gel in order to develop a long-term stable fibrin gel and, subsequently, investigated the suitability of the optimized gel for in vitro cartilage engineering. Only fibrin gels with a final fibrinogen concentration of 25 mg/ml or higher, a Ca2+ concentration of 20 mm and a pH between 6.8 and 9 were transparent and stable for three weeks, the duration of the experiment. In contrast, when preparing fibrin gels with concentrations out of these ranges, turbid gels were obtained that shrank and completely dissolved within a few weeks. In rheological characterization experiments, the optimized gels showed a broad linear viscoelastic region and withstood mechanical loadings of up to 10,000 Pa. Bovine chondrocytes suspended in the optimized fibrin gels proliferated well and produced the extracellular matrix (ECM) components glycosaminoglycans and collagen type II. When initially seeding 3 million cells or more per construct (5 mm diameter, 2 mm thick), after 5 weeks of culture, a coherent cartilaginous ECM was obtained that was homogenously distributed throughout the whole construct. The developed fibrin gels are suggested also for other tissue engineering applications in which long-term stable hydrogels appear desirable.
Keywords: Fibrin; Cartilage tissue engineering; Chondrocyte; Cell culture; Viscoelasticity;

Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogels functionalized with heparin were utilized as a three-dimensional culture system for human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Heparin-functionalized hydrogels supported hMSC viability, as quantified through live/dead imaging, and induced osteogenic differentiation, as measured by increased alkaline phosphatase (ALP) production and osteopontin (OPN) and collagen I (COL I) gene expression over the 5-week study. Further exploration of the potential mechanism of heparin-induced osteogenic differentiation was performed. Specifically, the availability of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) and fibronectin (FN) in the culture system was controlled and hMSC osteogenic differentiation was evaluated as a function of the microenvironment. BMP2 availability increased both ALP production and OPN gene expression, while FN increased ALP production, but not OPN gene expression. Furthermore, immunostaining of integrin expression revealed that viability and differentiation were differentially affected by integrin production, where both α5β1 and αvβ3 integrin–ligand interactions supported viability, while only the α5β1 integrin played a role in hMSC osteogenic differentiation.
Keywords: Mesenchymal stem cells; Osteogenic differentiation; Heparin; Encapsulation;

Biofunctionalization of collagen for improved biological response: Scaffolds for corneal tissue engineering by Xiaodong Duan; Christopher McLaughlin; May Griffith; Heather Sheardown (78-88).
Residual dendrimer amine groups were modified with incorporate COOH group containing biomolecules such as cell adhesion peptides into collagen scaffolds. YIGSR, as a model cell adhesion peptide, was incorporated into both the bulk structure of the gels and onto the gel surface. The effects of the peptide modified collagen gels on corneal epithelial cell behavior were examined with an aim of improving the potential of these materials as tissue-engineering scaffolds. YIGSR was first chemically attached to dendrimers and the YIGSR attached dendrimers were then used as collagen crosslinkers, incorporating the peptide into the bulk structure of the collagen gels. YIGSR was also attached to the surface of dendrimer crosslinked collagen gels through reaction with excess amine groups. The YIGSR modified dendrimers were characterized by H-NMR and MALDI mass spectra. The amount of YIGSR incorporated into collagen gels was determined by 125I radiolabelling at maximum to be 3.1–3.4×10−2  mg/mg collagen when reacted with the bulk and 88.9–95.6 μg/cm2 when attached to the surface. The amount of YIGSR could be tuned by varying the amount of peptide reacted with the dendrimer or the amount of modified dendrimer used in the crosslinking reaction. It was found that YIGSR incorporation into the bulk and YIGSR modification of surface promoted the adhesion and proliferation of human corneal epithelial cells as well as neurite extension from dorsal root ganglia.
Keywords: Cornea; Collagen; Dendrimers; YIGSR; Nerve outgrowth; Epithelialization;

Characterizing short-term release and neovascularization potential of multi-protein growth supplement delivered via alginate hollow fiber devices by H.K. Tilakaratne; Stephen K. Hunter; Mark E. Andracki; Jo A. Benda; V.G.J. Rodgers (89-98).
Multi-protein (10–250 kDa) endothelial cell growth supplement (ECGS) contains growth factors of varying sizes resulting in advanced release rates from diffusion-based drug delivery devices. As a result, the biochemical stimulus provided by ECGS for neovascularization in the critical initial stages of cell transplantation in artificial organs may differ from that for single growth factor delivery. In this study, both in vitro and in vivo studies were conducted with ECGS to correlate in vitro release of multiple angiogenic growth factors to vascularization potential in vivo. The short-term release of ECGS from calcium alginate gels supported in the lumen of polypropylene (PP) hollow fibers was investigated in vitro for up to 142 h. The overall time constant increased from 2, 2.2 and 6.3 h as the alginate concentration was increased from 1.5%, 2% and 3%, respectively. However, time constants for individual species ranged from 1.5 to 77 h. The in vivo bioactivity of released ECGS was assessed for up to 21 days using a Lewis rat model implanted with 1.5% calcium alginate gels supported in PP and polysulfone hollow fibers. For the ECGS-releasing PP hollow fiber system, a two-fold increase in neovascularization with respect to the control was observed for the period between 7 and 17 days post-implantation at the device–tissue interface ( p < 0.05 ).
Keywords: ECGS; Growth factors; Alginate; Controlled release; Neovascularization; Modeling;

A four-arm star block copolymer, comprised of a hydrophobic PMMA arm and an average of three hydrophilic poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) arms were designed and synthesized from the molecular level. The amphiphilic star block copolymer is capable of self-assembling into micelles in water, which was confirmed by FT-IR, 1H NMR and fluorescence spectroscopy. Transmission electron microscopy images showed that these nanoparticles were regularly spherical in shape. The micelles showed reversible dispersion/aggregation in response to temperature cycles through an outer polymer shell lower critical solution temperature (LCST) for PNIPAAm at around 34 °C, observed by optical absorbance measurements. Resulted polymeric micelles loaded with prednisone acetate showed a much improved drug release behavior due to the special micellar structure.
Keywords: Poly(methyl methacrylate); Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide); Star block copolymer; Micelle; Thermosensitivity; Controlled drug release;

Amphiphilic polyanhydrides for protein stabilization and release by María P. Torres; Amy S. Determan; Gretchen L. Anderson; Surya K. Mallapragada; Balaji Narasimhan (108-116).
The overall goal of this research is to design novel amphiphilic biodegradable systems based on polyanhydrides for the stabilization and sustained release of peptides and proteins. Accordingly, copolymers of the anhydrides, 1,6-bis(p-carboxyphenoxy)hexane (CPH) and 1,8-bis(p-carboxyphenoxy)-3,6-dioxaoctane (CPTEG), which are monomer-containing oligomeric ethylene glycol moieties, have been synthesized. Microspheres of different CPTEG:CPH compositions have been fabricated by two non-aqueous methods: solid/oil/oil double emulsion and cryogenic atomization. The ability of this amphiphilic polymeric system to stabilize model proteins (i.e., lysozyme and ovalbumin) was investigated. The structure of both the encapsulated as well as the released protein was monitored using gel electrophoresis, circular dichroism, and fluorescence spectroscopy. It was found that the CPTEG:CPH system preserves the structural hierarchy of the encapsulated proteins. Activity studies of the released protein indicate the CPTEG:CPH system retains the biological activity of the released protein. These results are promising for future in vivo studies, which involve the design of novel biodegradable polyanhydride carriers for the stabilization and sustained release of therapeutic peptides and proteins.
Keywords: Polyanhydrides; Degradation products; Microspheres; Lysozyme; Ovalbumin;

Disassembly of layer-by-layer films of plasmid DNA and reducible TAT polypeptide by Jenifer Blacklock; Hitesh Handa; Devika Soundara Manickam; Guangzhao Mao; Ashis Mukhopadhyay; David Oupický (117-124).
This paper reports the disassembly of layer-by-layer (LbL) films of plasmid DNA and a reducible cationic polypeptide. To utilize a reducing microenvironment of cellular plasma membrane as a potential trigger, LbL films are assembled to contain both DNA and the TAT-based polypeptide (PTAT) with reducible disulfide bonds in the backbone. The assembly and disassembly processes are monitored by goniometry, ellipsometry, and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The structure of the PTAT films is compared with that of non-reducible poly(l-lysine) (PLL) films. Both PTAT and PLL films exhibit exponential growth but with the contact angle alternating between characteristic values. Ellipsometry and AFM show a gradual and complete disassembly of the PTAT but not the PLL films in a 24 h period in the reducing environment in vitro. This study suggests a potential of using reducible LbL films for controlled DNA delivery.
Keywords: Layer-by-layer; Polyelectrolytes; DNA; TAT; PLL; Gene delivery;