In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (26)

Articles by Stefania Moscato in JoVE

 JoVE Bioengineering

Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Culture and Delivery in Autologous Conditions: A Smart Approach for Orthopedic Applications

1Dept. of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, 2OtoLab, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana (AOUP), 3Dept. of Civil and Industrial Engineering, University of Pisa, 4Immunohematology Operative Unit, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana (AOUP), 5Dept. Of Surgical, Medical, Molecular Pathology and Emergency Medicine, University of Pisa, 6II Orthopedic and Traumatologic Clinic, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana (AOUP)


JoVE 54845

Other articles by Stefania Moscato on PubMed

Endothelial Cell Binding by Systemic Lupus Antibodies: Functional Properties and Relationship with Anti-DNA Activity

Journal of Autoimmunity. May, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12126636

Anti-DNA antibodies and anti-endothelial cell antibodies (AECA) are often detected in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Anti-DNA antibodies can also bind the membrane of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), but little is known about the presence of AECA in the population of immunoglobulins from SLE sera that do not bind DNA. The aim of this study is to analyse the ability of anti-DNA and non-anti-DNA antibodies from SLE sera to bind endothelial cell antigens and to investigate their pathogenic potential. Both anti-DNA and non-anti-DNA antibodies display AECA activity by immunoprecipitation and flow cytometry and in some patients recognize antigens of identical molecular weight. Complement-dependent cytotoxicity on HUVEC was not detected with either anti-DNA or non-anti-DNA antibodies. Similarly, apoptosis was not induced in HUVEC and HL60 incubated with anti-DNA or non-anti-DNA antibodies, as shown by the DNA hypodiploid content. These data indicate that AECA are highly heterogeneous, as they recognize a wide variety of surface molecules on HUVEC and equally present in anti-DNA and non-anti-DNA antibodies from SLE patients.

Cellular and Subcellular Localization of the Small G Protein RhoA in the Human and Rat Embryonic and Adult Kidney

Acta Histochemica. 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12666992

Rho proteins, a subgroup of the Ras GTPase superfamily, control many cellular processes and morphogenetic events by acting as signaling molecules in the transduction pathways of various receptors. Among the "Rho-dependent" receptors are the extracellular matrix- and growth factor-binding sites; these are particularly involved in the modulation of renal development since they control the epithelial-mesenchymal interactions that drive kidney organogenesis. The present study has addressed the immunohistochemical localization of RhoA in developing and adult kidneys of rats and humans because: a) Rho proteins are known to have a morphogenetic role, b) data in the literature on expression of Rho GTPases during mammalian histogenesis and organogenesis are scarce, and c) their involvement in the transduction pathways of receptors is implicated in kidney development. In particular, RhoA peptide was found to be localized in the mesonephric duct and vesicles in both rats and humans; metanephric anlagen were mainly stained in ampullar-derived cells. Periglomerular tubules of fetal and adult kidneys as well as collecting ducts of adult kidneys showed intense staining. Therefore, the present study provides new information on the distribution patterns of RhoA during early stages of mammalian kidney development suggesting that this signaling molecule may take part in epithelial-mesenchymal induction processes that control kidney organogenesis. RhoA expression in adult structures may be linked with renewal of renal epithelial cells and the maintenance of their morphology and polarity.

Carboxy-terminal Fragment of Osteogenic Growth Peptide Regulates Myeloid Differentiation Through RhoA

Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. Dec, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15486974

The carboxy-terminal fragment of osteogenic growth peptide, OGP(10-14), is a pentapeptide with bone anabolic effects and hematopoietic activity. The latter activity appears to be largely enhanced by specific growth factors. To study the direct activity of OGP(10-14) on myeloid cells, we tested the pentapeptide proliferating/differentiating effects in HL60 cell line. In this cell line, OGP(10-14) significantly inhibited cell proliferation, and enhanced myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity and nitroblue tetrazolium reducing ability. Moreover, it induced cytoskeleton remodeling and small GTP-binding protein RhoA activation. RhoA, which is known to be involved in HL60 differentiation, mediated these effects as shown by using its specific inhibitor, C3. Treatment with GM-CSF had a comparable OGP(10-14) activity on proliferation, MPO expression, and RhoA activation. Further studies on cell proliferation and RhoA activation proved enhanced activity by association of the two factors. These results strongly suggest that OGP(10-14) acts directly on HL60 cells by activating RhoA signaling although other possibilities cannot be ruled out.

Kidney Expression of RhoA, TGF-beta1, and Fibronectin in Human IgA Nephropathy

Nephron. Experimental Nephrology. 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15925904

The Rho/transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) system plays a crucial role in the progression of renal damage due to stimulation of extracellular matrix molecule deposition. In fact, the in vitro TGF-beta-mediated production of fibronectin, one of the major TGF-beta-regulated extracellular components, has recently been correlated with Rho protein signalling molecules. Although a close relationship between increased renal tissue levels of TGF-beta1 and fibronectin has been reported in IgA nephropathy, no data are available on renal tissue expression of Rho proteins.

Immediate Structural Changes of Porcine Renal Arteries After Angioplasty: a Histological and Morphometric Study

Micron (Oxford, England : 1993). 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16361101

The aim of this research was to characterize the immediate alterations induced by angioplasty and to compare the results of the application of two types of balloons. Ten porcine renal arteries were dilated with a compliant balloon, and ten with a non-compliant balloon. After angioplastic treatment arterial specimens were wax embedded for light microscopy. Sections were stained with the orcein-Van Gieson method, orcein, haematoxylin-eosin, and PAS. Image analysis was performed taking into consideration the following parameters: thickness of the entire wall, of the tunica media and of the inner elastic lamina. The major axes of the smooth muscle cells nuclei were also measured. The effects of the two types of balloon resulted in changes consisting in thinning of the entire arterial wall, reduction of the tunica media, distension of reticular fibers, presence of wide spaces between smooth muscle cells, stretching of smooth muscle cells, inner elastic lamina thickening. Both angioplasty devices used can modify the vascular wall. The identification of the tunica media structural damages might be useful in order to estimate the behavior of the vascular wall in the follow-up after angioplasty, because the entity of modifications could be predictive of restenosis that often takes place weeks or months after angioplasty.

Gelatine/PLLA Sponge-like Scaffolds: Morphological and Biological Characterization

Journal of Materials Science. Materials in Medicine. Dec, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 17143751

Biodegradable synthetic polymers such as poly(lactic acid) are widely used to prepare scaffolds for cell transplantation and tissue growth, using different techniques set up for the purpose. However the poor hydrophilicity of these polymers represents the main limitation to their use as scaffolds because it causes a low affinity for the cells. An effective way to solve this problem could be represented by the addition of biopolymers that are in general highly hydrophilic. The present work concerns porous biodegradable sponge-like systems based on poly(L-lactic acid) and gelatine. Morphology and porosity characteristics of the sponges were studied by scanning electron microscopy and mercury intrusion porosimetry respectively. Blood compatibility was investigated by bovine plasma fibrinogen adsorption test and platelet adhesion test. The cell culture method was used in order to evaluate the ability of the matrices to work as scaffolds for tissue regeneration. The obtained results indicate that the sponges have interesting porous characteristics, good blood compatibility and above all good ability to support cell adhesion and growth. In fact viable and metabolically active animal cells were found inside the sponges after 8 weeks in culture. On this basis the systems produced seem to be good candidates as scaffolds for tissue regeneration.

Gelatine/PLLA Sponge-like Scaffolds: Morphological and Biological Characterization

Journal of Materials Science. Materials in Medicine. Jul, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17277980

Biodegradable synthetic polymers such as poly(lactic acid) (PLA) are widely used to prepare scaffolds for cell transplantation and tissue growth, using different techniques set up for the purpose. However the poor hydrophilicity of these polymers represents the main limitation to their use as scaffolds because it causes a low affinity for the cells. An effective way to solve this problem could be represented by the addition of biopolymers that are in general highly hydrophilic. The present work concerns porous biodegradable sponge-like systems based on poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) and gelatine. Morphology and porosity characteristics of the sponges were studied by scanning electron microscopy and mercury intrusion porosimetry respectively. Blood compatibility was investigated by bovine plasma fibrinogen (BPF) adsorption test and platelet adhesion test (PAT). The cell culture method was used in order to evaluate the ability of the matrices to work as scaffolds for tissue regeneration. The obtained results indicate that the sponges have interesting porous characteristics, good blood compatibility and above all good ability to support cell adhesion and growth. In fact viable and metabolically active animal cells were found inside the sponges after 8 weeks in culture. On this basis the systems produced seem to be good candidates as scaffolds for tissue regeneration.

Interaction of Human Gingival Fibroblasts with PVA/gelatine Sponges

Micron (Oxford, England : 1993). Jul, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 17702585

Tissue engineering scaffolds should be able to reproduce optimal microenvironments in order to support cell attachment, three-dimensional growth, migration and, regarding fibroblasts, must also promote extracellular matrix production. Various bioactive molecules are employed in the preparation of spongy scaffolds to obtain biomimetic matrices by either surface-coating or introducing them into the bulk composition of the biomaterial. The biomimetic properties of a spongy matrix composed of PVA combined with the natural component gelatine were evaluated by culturing human gingival fibroblasts on the scaffold. Cell adhesion, morphology and distribution within the scaffold were assessed by histology and electron microscopy; viability and metabolic activity as well as extracellular matrix production were analyzed by MTT assay, cytochemistry and immunocytochemistry. Fibroblasts interacted positively with PVA/gelatine. They adhered to the PVA/gelatine matrix in which they had good spreading activity and active metabolism; fibroblasts were also able to produce extracellular matrix molecules (type I collagen, fibronectin and laminin) compared to bi-dimensionally grown cells. The in situ creation of a biological matrix by human fibroblasts together with the ability to produce growth factor TGF-beta1 and the intracellular signal transduction molecule RhoA, suggests that this kind of PVA/gelatine sponge may represent a suitable support for in vitro extracellular matrix production and connective tissue regeneration.

The Small Peptide OGP(10-14) Acts Through Src Kinases and RhoA Pathways in Mo-7e Cells: Morphologic and Immunologic Evaluation

Medical Science Monitor : International Medical Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research. Jun, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18509267

Osteogenic growth peptide (OGP) is an endogenous tetradecapeptide present in micromolar concentrations in mammalian serum; its carboxy-terminal pentapeptide, OGP(10-14), represents its physiologically active fragment. OGP(10-14) induces proliferation and differentiation in fibroblast and osteoblast cell lines, and it enhances hematopoiesis in vitro and in vivo. The signaling pathways triggered by OGP(10-14) are not yet fully known. In the present report, we evaluated the effect of OGP(10-14) on differentiation of a cancer megakaryoblast cell line and its involvement on RhoA and Src family kinases signaling pathway.

Novel Biological/biohybrid Prostheses for the Ossicular Chain: Fabrication Feasibility and Preliminary Functional Characterization

Biomedical Microdevices. Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19294514

Alternatives for ossicular replacements were fabricated in order to overcome persisting rejections in middle ear prosthetization. Unlike the synthetic prostheses in fashion, we propose biological and biohybrid replacements containing extra cellular matrix (ECM) molecules to improve biointegration. In this study, ECM-containing devices shaped as Partial Ossicular Replacement Prostheses (PORPs) were fabricated reproducing the current synthetic models. Biological PORPs were obtained from human decellularized cortical bone allografts by computer numerically controlled ultraprecision micromilling. Moreover, porous PORP-like scaffolds were produced and cultured with osteoinduced human mesenchymal stromal cells to generate in vitro bone ECM within the scaffold porosity (biohybrid PORPs). The acoustic responses of such devices were investigated and compared to those of commercial prostheses. Results showed that biological PORPs transmit mechanical signals with appropriate frequencies, amplitudes, and with early extinction time. Although signal transmission in biohybrid PORPs showed insufficient amplitude, we believe that tissue engineered constructs represent the new challenge in ossiculoplasty.

Quantitative Evaluation of Myenteric Ganglion Cells in Normal Human Left Colon: Implications for Histopathological Analysis

Cell and Tissue Research. May, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19322590

The analysis of myenteric neurons is becoming increasingly important for the assessment of enteric nervous system injury and degeneration occurring in motor disorders of the gut. Limited information is presently available on the quantitative estimation of myenteric neurons and glial cells in paraffin-embedded colonic sections; additional data would be useful for diagnostic purposes. In this morphometric study, we performed immunohistochemistry to count myenteric neurons and glial cells in paraffin sections of human colon. Serial cross sections of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded full-thickness normal human left colon (n = 10, age-range: 50-72 years) were examined. HuC/D and S100beta antigens were found to be the best markers for the detection of neurons and glial cells, respectively. Significant correlations were noted between the numbers of neurons/glial cells and the respective myenteric ganglion areas. These findings suggest that HuC/D-S100beta-immunostained paraffin cross sections of human colon can be regarded as valuable tools for the quantitative estimation of myenteric neurons and glial cells. Based on the present method, only a limited number of paraffin sections are needed for reliable quantitative assessments of myenteric ganglion cells, thus allowing fast and simple approaches in the settings of the histopathological diagnosis of colonic motility disorders and retrospective evaluations of pathological archival tissue specimens.

Assessing Cytotoxicity of Boron Nitride Nanotubes: Interference with the MTT Assay

Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Apr, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20226164

Thanks to a non-covalent wrapping with glycol-chitosan, highly biocompatible and highly concentrated dispersions of boron nitride nanotubes were obtained and tested on human neuroblastoma cells. A systematic investigation of the cytotoxicity of these nanovectors with several complementary qualitative and quantitative assays allowed a strong interference with the MTT metabolic assay to be highlighted, similar to a phenomenon already observed for carbon nanotubes, that would wrongly suggest toxicity of boron nitride nanotubes. These results confirm the high complexity of these new nanomaterials, and the needing of extensive investigations on their exciting potential applications in the biomedical field.

Barium Titanate Nanoparticles: Highly Cytocompatible Dispersions in Glycol-chitosan and Doxorubicin Complexes for Cancer Therapy

Nanoscale Research Letters. 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20596329

In the latest years, innovative nanomaterials have attracted a dramatic and exponentially increasing interest, in particular for their potential applications in the biomedical field. In this paper, we reported our findings on the cytocompatibility of barium titanate nanoparticles (BTNPs), an extremely interesting ceramic material. A rational and systematic study of BTNP cytocompatibility was performed, using a dispersion method based on a non-covalent binding to glycol-chitosan, which demonstrated the optimal cytocompatibility of this nanomaterial even at high concentration (100 μg/ml). Moreover, we showed that the efficiency of doxorubicin, a widely used chemotherapy drug, is highly enhanced following the complexation with BTNPs. Our results suggest that innovative ceramic nanomaterials such as BTNPs can be realistically exploited as alternative cellular nanovectors.

Enhancement of Neurite Outgrowth in Neuronal-like Cells Following Boron Nitride Nanotube-mediated Stimulation

ACS Nano. Oct, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20925390

In this paper, we propose an absolutely innovative technique for the electrical stimulation of cells, based on piezoelectric nanoparticles. Ultrasounds are used to impart mechanical stress to boron nitride nanotubes incubated with neuronal-like PC12 cells. By virtue of their piezoelectric properties, these nanotubes can polarize and convey electrical stimuli to the cells. PC12 stimulated with the present method exhibit neurite sprout 30% greater than the control cultures after 9 days of treatment.

Growing Bone Tissue-engineered Niches with Graded Osteogenicity: an in Vitro Method for Biomimetic Construct Assembly

Tissue Engineering. Part C, Methods. Dec, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23537352

The traditional bone tissue-engineering approach exploits mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to be seeded once only on three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds, hence, differentiated for a certain period of time and resulting in a homogeneous osteoblast population at the endpoint. However, after achieving terminal osteodifferentiation, cell viability is usually markedly compromised. On the other hand, naturally occurring osteogenesis results from the coexistence of MSC progenies at distinct differentiative stages in the same microenvironment. This diversification also enables long-term viability of the mature tissue. We report an easy and tunable in vitro method to engineer simple osteogenic cell niches in a biomimetic fashion. The niches were grown via periodic reseeding of undifferentiated MSCs on MSC/scaffold constructs, the latter undergoing osteogenic commitment. Time-fractioning of the seeded cell number during differentiation time of the constructs allowed graded osteogenic cell populations to be grown together on the same scaffolds (i.e., not only terminally differentiated osteoblasts). In such cell-dynamic systems, the overall differentiative stage of the constructs could also be tuned by varying the cell density seeded at each inoculation. In this way, we generated two different biomimetic niche models able to host good reservoirs of preosteoblasts and other osteoprogenitors after 21 culture days. At that time, the niche type resulting in 40.8% of immature osteogenic progenies and only 59.2% of mature osteoblasts showed a calcium content comparable to the constructs obtained with the traditional culture method (i.e., 100.03 ± 29.30 vs. 78.51 ± 28.50 pg/cell, respectively; p=not significant), the latter colonized only by fully differentiated osteoblasts showing exhausted viability. This assembly method for tissue-engineered constructs enabled a set of important parameters, such as viability, colonization, and osteogenic yield of the MSCs to be balanced on 3D scaffolds, thus achieving biomimetic in vitro models with graded osteogenicity, which are more complex and reliable than those currently used by tissue engineers.

Boron Nitride Nanotubes and Primary Human Osteoblasts: in Vitro Compatibility and Biological Interactions Under Low Frequency Ultrasound Stimulation

Nanotechnology. Nov, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24150892

In this paper we investigated a novel and non-invasive approach for an endogenous osteoblast stimulation mediated by boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs). Specifically, following the cellular uptake of the piezoelectric nanotubes, cultures of primary human osteoblasts (hOBs) were irradiated with low frequency ultrasound (US), as a simple method to apply a mechanical input to the cells loaded with BNNTs. This in vitro study was aimed at investigating the main interactions between hOBs and BNNTs and to study the effects of the 'BNNTs + US' stimulatory method on the osteoblastic function and maturation.A non-cytotoxic BNNT concentration to be used in vitro with hOB cultures was established. Moreover, investigation with transmission electron microscopy/electron energy loss spectroscopy (TEM/EELS) confirmed that BNNTs were internalized in membranal vesicles. The panel of investigated osteoblastic markers disclosed that BNNTs were capable of fostering the expression of late-stage bone proteins in vitro, without using any mineralizing culture supplements. In our samples, the maximal osteopontin expression, with the highest osteocalcin and Ca(2+) production, in the presence of mineral matrix with nodular morphology, was observed in the samples treated with BNNTs + US. In this group was also shown a significantly enhanced synthesis of TGF-β1, a molecule sensitive to electric stimulation in bone. Finally, gene deregulations of the analyzed osteoblastic genes leading to depletive cellular effects were not detected. Due to their piezoelectricity, BNNT-based therapies might disclose advancements in the treatment of bone diseases.

Processing Large-diameter Poly(L-lactic Acid) Microfiber Mesh/mesenchymal Stromal Cell Constructs Via Resin Embedding: an Efficient Histologic Method

Biomedical Materials (Bristol, England). Aug, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25029413

In this study, we performed a complete histologic analysis of constructs based on large diameter ( >100 μm) poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) microfibers obtained via dry-wet spinning and rat Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (rMSCs) differentiated towards the osteogenic lineage, using acrylic resin embedding. In many synthetic polymer-based microfiber meshes, ex post processability of fiber/cell constructs for histologic analysis may face deterring difficulties, leading to an incomplete investigation of the potential of these scaffolds. Indeed, while polymeric nanofiber (fiber diameter = tens of nanometers)/cell constructs can usually be embedded in common histologic media and easily sectioned, preserving the material structure and the antigenic reactivity, histologic analysis of large polymeric microfiber/cell constructs in the literature is really scant. This affects microfiber scaffolds based on FDA-approved and widely used polymers such as PLLA and its copolymers. Indeed, for such constructs, especially those with fiber diameter and fiber interspace much larger than cell size, standard histologic processing is usually inefficient due to inhomogeneous hardness and lack of cohesion between the synthetic and the biological phases under sectioning. In this study, the microfiber/MSC constructs were embedded in acrylic resin and the staining/reaction procedures were calibrated to demonstrate the possibility of successfully employing histologic methods in tissue engineering studies even in such difficult cases. We histologically investigated the main osteogenic markers and extracellular matrix molecules, such as alkaline phosphatase, osteopontin, osteocalcin, TGF-β1, Runx2, Collagen type I and the presence of amorphous, fibrillar and mineralized matrix. Biochemical tests were employed to confirm our findings. This protocol permitted efficient sectioning of the treated constructs and good penetration of the histologic reagents, thus allowing distribution and expression of almost all the tested molecules to be revealed. Our results demonstrated that it is possible to perform histologic analyses of large-diameter PLLA-based microfiber scaffold/MSC constructs that face the failure of standard histologic procedures.

Plasticity of Human Dental Pulp Stromal Cells with Bioengineering Platforms: a Versatile Tool for Regenerative Medicine

Micron (Oxford, England : 1993). Dec, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25180486

In recent years, human dental pulp stromal cells (DPSCs) have received growing attention due to their characteristics in common with other mesenchymal stem cells, in addition to the ease with which they can be harvested. In this study, we demonstrated that the isolation of DPSCs from third molar teeth of healthy individuals allowed the recovery of dental mesenchymal stem cells that showed self-renewal and multipotent differentiation capability. DPSCs resulted positive for CD73, CD90, CD105, STRO-1, negative for CD34, CD45, CD14 and were able to differentiate into osteogenic and chondrogenic cells. We also assayed the angiogenic potential of DPSCs, their capillary tube-like formation was assessed using an in vitro angiogenesis assay and the uptake of acetylated low-density lipoprotein was measured as a marker of endothelial function. Based on these results, DPSCs were capable of differentiating into cells with phenotypic and functional features of endothelial cells. Furthermore, this study investigated the growth and differentiation of human DPSCs under a variety of bioengineering platforms, such as low frequency ultrasounds, tissue engineering and nanomaterials. DPSCs showed an enhanced chondrogenic differentiation under ultrasound application. Moreover, DPSCs were tested on different scaffolds, poly(vinyl alcohol)/gelatin (PVA/G) sponges and human plasma clots. We showed that both PVA/G and human plasma clot are suitable scaffolds for adhesion, growth and differentiation of DPSCs toward osteoblastic lineages. Finally, we evaluated the interactions of DPSCs with a novel class of nanomaterials, namely boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs). From our investigation, DPSCs have appeared as a highly versatile cellular tool to be employed in regenerative medicine.

Interfacing Polymeric Scaffolds with Primary Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Cells to Develop 3D Cancer Models

Biomatter. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25482337

We analyzed the interactions between human primary cells from pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and polymeric scaffolds to develop 3D cancer models useful for mimicking the biology of this tumor. Three scaffold types based on two biocompatible polymeric formulations, such as poly(vinyl alcohol)/gelatin (PVA/G) mixture and poly(ethylene oxide terephthalate)/poly(butylene terephthalate) (PEOT/PBT) copolymer, were obtained via different techniques, namely, emulsion and freeze-drying, compression molding followed by salt leaching, and electrospinning. In this way, primary PDAC cells interfaced with different pore topographies, such as sponge-like pores of different shape and size or nanofiber interspaces. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence played by the scaffold architecture over cancerous cell growth and function. In all scaffolds, primary PDAC cells showed good viability and synthesized tumor-specific metalloproteinases (MMPs) such as MMP-2, and MMP-9. However, only sponge-like pores, obtained via emulsion-based and salt leaching-based techniques allowed for an organized cellular aggregation very similar to the native PDAC morphological structure. Differently, these cell clusters were not observed on PEOT/PBT electrospun scaffolds. MMP-2 and MMP-9, as active enzymes, resulted to be increased in PVA/G and PEOT/PBT sponges, respectively. These findings suggested that spongy scaffolds supported the generation of pancreatic tumor models with enhanced aggressiveness. In conclusion, primary PDAC cells showed diverse behaviors while interacting with different scaffold types that can be potentially exploited to create stage-specific pancreatic cancer models likely to provide new knowledge on the modulation and drug susceptibility of MMPs.

Boron Nitride Nanotube-functionalised Myoblast/microfibre Constructs: a Nanotech-assisted Tissue-engineered Platform for Muscle Stimulation

Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. Jul, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 24596180

In this communication, we introduce boron nitride nanotube (BNNT)-functionalised muscle cell/microfibre mesh constructs, obtained via tissue engineering, as a three-dimensional (3D) platform to study a wireless stimulation system for electrically responsive cells and tissues. Our stimulation strategy exploits the piezoelectric behaviour of some classes of ceramic nanoparticles, such as BNNTs, able to polarize under mechanical stress, e.g. using low-frequency ultrasound (US). In the microfibre scaffolds, C2C12 myoblasts were able to differentiate into viable myotubes and to internalize BNNTs, also upon US irradiation, so as to obtain a nanotech-assisted 3D in vitro model. We then tested our stimulatory system on 2D and 3D cellular models by investigating the expression of connexin 43 (Cx43), as a molecule involved in cell crosstalk and mechanotransduction, and myosin, as a myogenic differentiation marker. Cx43 gene expression revealed a marked model dependency. In control samples (without US and/or BNNTs), Cx43 was upregulated under 2D culture conditions (10.78 ± 1.05-fold difference). Interactions with BNNTs increased Cx43 expression in 3D samples. Cx43 mRNA dropped in 2D under the 'BNNTs + US' regimen, while it was best enhanced in 3D samples (3.58 ± 1.05 vs 13.74 ± 1.42-fold difference, p = 0.0001). At the protein level, the maximal expressions of Cx43 and myosin were detected in the 3D model. In contrast with the 3D model, in 2D cultures, BNNTs and US exerted a synergistic depletive effect upon myosin synthesis. These findings indicate that model dimensionality and stimulatory regimens can strongly affect the responses of signalling and differentiation molecules, proving the importance of developing proper in vitro platforms for biological modelling.

Poly(vinyl Alcohol)/gelatin Hydrogels Cultured with HepG2 Cells As a 3D Model of Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Morphological Study

Journal of Functional Biomaterials. Jan, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25590431

It has been demonstrated that three-dimensional (3D) cell culture models represent fundamental tools for the comprehension of cellular phenomena both for normal and cancerous tissues. Indeed, the microenvironment affects the cellular behavior as well as the response to drugs. In this study, we performed a morphological analysis on a hepatocarcinoma cell line, HepG2, grown for 24 days inside a bioartificial hydrogel composed of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and gelatin (G) to model a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in 3D. Morphological features of PVA/G hydrogels were investigated, resulting to mimic the trabecular structure of liver parenchyma. A histologic analysis comparing the 3D models with HepG2 cell monolayers and tumor specimens was performed. In the 3D setting, HepG2 cells were viable and formed large cellular aggregates showing different morphotypes with zonal distribution. Furthermore, β-actin and α5β1 integrin revealed a morphotype-related expression; in particular, the frontline cells were characterized by a strong immunopositivity on a side border of their membrane, thus suggesting the formation of lamellipodia-like structures apt for migration. Based on these results, we propose PVA/G hydrogels as valuable substrates to develop a long term 3D HCC model that can be used to investigate important aspects of tumor biology related to migration phenomena.

Barium Titanate Nanoparticles and Hypergravity Stimulation Improve Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells into Osteoblasts

International Journal of Nanomedicine. 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25609955

Enhancement of the osteogenic potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is highly desirable in the field of bone regeneration. This paper proposes a new approach for the improvement of osteogenesis combining hypergravity with osteoinductive nanoparticles (NPs).

Altered Expression of Connexin 43 and Related Molecular Partners in a Pig Model of Left Ventricular Dysfunction with and Without Dipyrydamole Therapy

Pharmacological Research. May-Jun, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25836920

Gap junctions (GJ) mediate electrical coupling between cardiac myocytes, allowing the spreading of the electrical wave responsible for synchronized contraction. GJ function can be regulated by modulation of connexon densities on membranes, connexin (Cx) phosphorylation, trafficking and degradation. Recent studies have shown that adenosine (A) involves Cx43 turnover in A1 receptor-dependent manner, and dipyridamole increases GJ coupling and amount of Cx43 in endothelial cells. As the abnormalities in GJ organization and regulation have been described in diseased myocardium, the aim of the present study was to assess the regional expression of molecules involved in GJ regulation in a model of left ventricular dysfunction (LVD). For this purpose the distribution and quantitative expression of Cx43, its phosphorylated form pS368-Cx43, PKC phosphorylated substrates, RhoA and A receptors, were investigated in experimental models of right ventricular-pacing induced LVD, undergoing concomitant dipyridamole therapy or placebo, and compared with those obtained in the myocardium from sham-operated minipigs. Results demonstrate that an altered pattern of factors involved in Cx43-made GJ regulation is present in myocardium of a dysfunctioning left ventricle. Furthermore, dipyridamole treatment, which shows a mild protective role on left ventricular function, seems to act through modulating the expression and activation of these factors as confirmed by in vitro experiments on cardiomyoblastic cell line H9c2 cells.

Pilot in Vivo Investigation of Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles As a Novel Anti-obesity Pharmaceutical Formulation

Nanomedicine : Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine. Oct, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26003299

Obesity is a worldwide pathological condition that strongly impairs human health, and, to date, no effective therapy against excessive fat accumulation has been found yet. Since overweight correlates with an increased oxidative stress, our aim is to investigate the antioxidant effects of cerium oxide nanoparticles (nanoceria) as a potential pharmaceutical approach for the treatment of obesity. Nanoceria were tested both in vitro and in vivo; they were proven to interfere with the adipogenic pathway by reducing the mRNA transcription of genes involved in adipogenesis, and by hindering the triglycerides accumulation in 3T3-L1 pre-adipocytes. Nanoceria, intraperitonally injected in Wistar rats, did not show appreciable toxic effects, but instead efficiently contributed in reducing the weight gain and in lowering the plasma levels of insulin, leptin, glucose and triglycerides.

Active Targeting of Sorafenib: Preparation, Characterization, and In Vitro Testing of Drug-Loaded Magnetic Solid Lipid Nanoparticles

Advanced Healthcare Materials. Aug, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26039933

Sorafenib is an anticancer drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of hepatocellular and advanced renal carcinoma. The clinical application of sorafenib is promising, yet limited by its severe toxic side effects. The aim of this study is to develop sorafenib-loaded magnetic nanovectors able to enhance the drug delivery to the disease site with the help of a remote magnetic field, thus enabling cancer treatment while limiting negative effects on healthy tissues. Sorafenib and superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles are encapsulated in solid lipid nanoparticles by a hot homogenization technique using cetyl palmitate as lipid matrix. The obtained nanoparticles (Sor-Mag-SLNs) have a sorafenib loading efficiency of about 90% and are found to be very stable in an aqueous environment. Plain Mag-SLNs exhibit good cytocompatibility, whereas an antiproliferative effect against tumor cells (human hepatocarcinoma HepG2) is observed for drug-loaded Sor-Mag-SLNs. The obtained results show that it is possible to prepare stable Sor-Mag-SLNs able to inhibit cancer cell proliferation through the sorafenib cytotoxic action, and to enhance/localize this effect in a desired area thanks to a magnetically driven accumulation of the drug. Moreover, the relaxivity properties observed in water suspensions hold promise for Sor-Mag-SLN tracking through clinical magnetic resonance imaging.

Bovine Bone Matrix/poly(l-lactic-co-ε-caprolactone)/gelatin Hybrid Scaffold (SmartBone(®)) for Maxillary Sinus Augmentation: A Histologic Study on Bone Regeneration

International Journal of Pharmaceutics. Oct, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27769886

The ideal scaffold for bone regeneration is required to be highly porous, non-immunogenic, biostable until the new tissue formation, bioresorbable and osteoconductive. This study aimed at investigating the process of new bone formation in patients treated with granular SmartBone(®) for sinus augmentation, providing an extensive histologic analysis. Five biopsies were collected at 4-9 months post SmartBone(®) implantation and processed for histochemistry and immunohistochemistry. Histomorphometric analysis was performed. Bone-particle conductivity index (BPCi) was used to assess SmartBone(®) osteoconductivity. At 4 months, SmartBone(®) (12%) and new bone (43.9%) were both present and surrounded by vascularized connective tissue (37.2%). New bone was grown on SmartBone(®) (BPCi=0.22). At 6 months, SmartBone(®) was almost completely resorbed (0.5%) and new bone was massively present (80.8%). At 7 and 9 months, new bone accounted for a large volume fraction (79.3% and 67.4%, respectively) and SmartBone(®) was resorbed (0.5% and 0%, respectively). Well-oriented lamellae and bone scars, typical of mature bone, were observed. In all the biopsies, bone matrix biomolecules and active osteoblasts were visible. The absence of inflammatory cells confirmed SmartBone(®) biocompatibility and non-immunogenicity. These data indicate that SmartBone(®) is osteoconductive, promotes fast bone regeneration, leading to mature bone formation in about 7 months.

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