Methods for preparing an injectable matrix gel from decellularized tissue and injecting it into rat myocardium in vivo are described.
The cranial mesenchyme undergoes dramatic morphogenic movements that likely provides a driving force for elevation of the neural folds1,2. Here we describe a simple ex vivo explant assay to characterize the cellular behaviors of the cranial mesenchyme during neurulation. This assay has numerous applications including being amenable to pharmacological manipulations and live imaging analyses.
In this video, we demonstrate the experimental techniques used to fabricate compliant, extracellular matrix (ECM) coated substrates suitable for cell culture, and which are amenable to traction force microscopy and observing effects of ECM stiffness on cell behavior.
A 3D culture system for hematopoiesis is described using human cord blood and leukemic bone marrow cells. The method is based on the use of a porous synthetic polyurethane scaffold coated with extracellular matrix proteins. This scaffold is adaptable to accommodate a wide range of cells.
The effect of substrata stiffness on cellular function can be modeled in vitro using polyacrylamide hydrogels of varying compliances.
Mechanical forces play a key role in lung development and lung injury. Here, we describe a method to isolate rodent fetal lung type II epithelial cells and fibroblasts and to expose them to mechanical stimulation using an in vitro system.
Isolation of Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells and Their Use in the Study of Neutrophil Transmigration Under Flow Conditions
This article first describes a procedure for isolating human endothelial cells from umbilical veins and then shows how to use these cells to examine neutrophil transmigration under flow conditions. By using a low-volume flow chamber made from a polymer with the optical characteristics of glass, live-cell fluorescent imaging of rare cell populations is also possible.
Quantitative Measurement of Invadopodia-mediated Extracellular Matrix Proteolysis in Single and Multicellular Contexts
We describe the prototypical method for producing microscope coverslips coated with fluorescent gelatin for visualizing invadopodia-mediated matrix degradation. Computational techniques using available software are presented for quantifying the resultant levels of matrix proteolysis by single cells within a mixed population and for multicellular groups encompassing entire microscopic fields.
Dissection and Culture of Mouse Dopaminergic and Striatal Explants in Three-Dimensional Collagen Matrix Assays
Explants from the midbrain dopamine system and striatum are used in a collagen matrix assay for the in vitro analysis of mesostriatal and striatonigral pathway development. In this assay axonal outgrowth and guidance can be manipulated and quantified. It can also be modified for assessing other regions or molecular cues.
Ex utero Electroporation and Whole Hemisphere Explants: A Simple Experimental Method for Studies of Early Cortical Development
This protocol describes an improved explant procedure that involves ex utero electroporation, dissection and culture of entire cerebral hemispheres from the embryonic mouse. The preparation facilitates pharmacological studies and assays of gene function during early cortical development.
An efficient method to gain insights into visualizing the paracrine-derived ROS induction of endothelial Ca2+ signaling is described. This method takes advantage of measuring paracrine derived ROS triggered Ca2+ mobilization in vascular endothelial cells in a co-culture model.
We describe a simple, rapid method of generating 3D tissue-like spheroids and their potential application to quantify differences in cell-cell interactions.
We describe a protocol for the microfabrication of the gradient-generating microfluidic device that can generate spatial and temporal gradients in well-defined microenvironment. In this approach, the gradient-generating microfluidic device can be used to study directed cell migration, embryogenesis, wound healing, and cancer metastasis.
Modulation of hippocampally-dependent spatial working memory by direct intrahippocampal microinjection, accompanied and followed by in vivo microdialysis for metabolites in conscious, behaving animals.
1McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, 2Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, 3Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, 4Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh
A method to rapidly and completely remove cellular components from an intact porcine heart through retrograde perfusion is described. This method yields a site specific cardiac extracellular matrix scaffold which has the potential for use in multiple clinical applications.
We describe a protocol for the fabrication of microfluidic devices that can enable cell capture and culture. In this approach patterned microstructures such as grooves within microfluidic channels are used to create low shear stress regions within which cell can dock.
Elastomeric PGS scaffolds with vascular smooth muscle cells cultured in a pulsatile flow bioreactor may lead to promising small-diameter arterial constructs with native ECM production in a relatively short culture period.
1Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and Inter-University Centre for Medical Technology Stuttgart-Tübingen (IZST), Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, 2Department of Cell and Tissue Engineering, Fraunhofer Institute of Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB) Stuttgart, Germany, 3Department for Medical Interfacial Engineering (IGVT), University of Stuttgart, Germany, 4Institute of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, Julius-Maximillians University, Würzburg, Germany
Raman spectroscopy is a suitable technique for the non-contact, label-free analysis of living cells, tissue-engineered constructs and native tissues. Source-specific spectral fingerprints can be generated and analyzed using multivariate analysis.
Generating induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines produces lines of differing developmental potential even when they pass standard tests for pluripotency. Here we describe a protocol to produce mice derived entirely from iPSCs, which defines the iPSC lines as possessing full pluripotency1.
Electrospun scaffolds can be processed post production for tissue engineering applications. Here we describe methods for spinning complex scaffolds (by consecutive spinning), for making thicker scaffolds (by multi-layering using heat or vapour annealing), for achieving sterility (aseptic production or sterilisation post production) and for achieving appropriate biomechanical properties.
We provide a detailed protocol for preparing primary cells dissociated from Drosophila embryos. The ability to carry out the effective RNAi perturbation, together with other molecular, biochemical and cell imaging methods will allow a variety of questions to be addressed in Drosophila primary cells.
Models of tumor cell invasion into three-dimensional extracellular matrix better reflect the in vivo situation than two-dimensional motility assays. Using matrix invasion assays combined with confocal imaging of fluorescently-labeled cells, detailed information on invasion modes and the distinct contributions of leading versus following cells can be obtained.
A combinatorial functional screening method for gaining insights into the impacts of the molecular composition of microenvironments on cellular functions is described. The method takes advantage of existing microarray-based technologies to generate arrays of defined combinatorial microenvironments that support cell adhesion and functional analysis.
Astrocytes have been recognized to be versatile cells participating in fundamental biological processes that are essential for normal brain development and function, and central nervous system repair. Here we present a rapid procedure to obtain pure mouse astrocyte cultures to study the biology of this major class of central nervous system cells.
This protocol focuses on utilizing the inherent ability of stem cells to take cue from their surrounding extracellular matrix and be induced to differentiate into multiple phenotypes. This methods manuscript extends our description and characterization of a model utilizing a bilayered hydrogel, composed of PEG-fibrin and collagen, to simultaneously co-differentiate adipose-derived stem cells1.
In this article we describe the use of magnetic tweezers to study the effect of force on enzymatic proteolysis at the single molecule level in a highly parallelizable manner.
A novel approach that allows the high-resolution analysis of cancer cell interactions with exogenous hyaluronic acid (HA) is described. Patterned surfaces are fabricated by combining carbodiimide chemistry and microcontact printing.
A method for the assembly of adhesive and soluble gradients in a microscopy chamber for live cell migration studies is described. The engineered environment combines antifouling surfaces and adhesive tracks with solution gradients and therefore allows one to determine the relative importance of guidance cues.
Deciphering Axonal Pathways of Genetically Defined Groups of Neurons in the Chick Neural Tube Utilizing in ovo Electroporation
This video demonstrates how to visualize axonal pathways of genetically defined groups of neurons in the embryonic chick spinal cord utilizing in ovo electroporation of reporter genes under the control of specific enhancer elements.
We present protocols for the 3-dimensional (3D) encapsulation of cells within synthetic hydrogels. The encapsulation procedure is outlined for two commonly used methods of crosslinking (michael-type addition and light-initiated free radical mechanisms), as well as a number of techniques for assessing encapsulated cell behavior.
Methods for using alphavirus transducing systems to express fluorescent reporters in vitro and in adult mosquitoes are described. This technique may be adapted to express any protein of interest in lieu of or in addition to a reporter.
1Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 3Department of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 4Center for High-Throughput Biology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 5Institute for Cell Engineering, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
A method for the incorporation of plasmid DNA into murine retinal cells for the purpose of performing either gain- or loss of function studies in vivo is presented. This method capitalizes on the transient increase in permeability of cell plasma membranes induced by the application of an external electrical field.
In ovo Electroporation of miRNA-based Plasmids in the Developing Neural Tube and Assessment of Phenotypes by DiI Injection in Open-book Preparations
A method by which gene expression in the neural tube can be downregulated in a cell type-specific, traceable manner is described. We demonstrate how in ovo electroporation of microRNA-based plasmids that elicit spatiotemporally controlled RNA interference can be used to investigate commissural axon guidance in the developing neural tube.
We demonstrate a minimally invasive technique referred to as neonatal subventricular zone electroporation. The technique consists of injecting plasmid DNA into the lateral ventricles of neonatal pups and applying electrical current to deliver and genetically manipulate neural stem cells
1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, University of Calgary, 2Department of Medical Genetics, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary
In utero electroporation allows for rapid gene delivery in a spatially- and temporally-controlled manner in the developing central nervous system (CNS). Here we describe a highly adaptable in utero electroporation protocol that can be used to deliver expression constructs into multiple embryonic CNS domains, including the telencephalon, diencephalon and retina.
Our group has developed a bioreactor culture system that mimics the physiological pulsatile stresses of the cardiovascular system to regenerate implantable small-diameter vascular grafts.
Biophysical Assays to Probe the Mechanical Properties of the Interphase Cell Nucleus: Substrate Strain Application and Microneedle Manipulation
1Brigham and Women's Hospital / Harvard Medical School, Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Division, 2Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology & Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University
We present two independent, microscope-based tools to measure the induced nuclear and cytoskeletal deformations in single, living adherent cells in response to global or localized strain application. These techniques are used to determine nuclear stiffness (i.e., deformability) and to probe intracellular force transmission between the nucleus and the cytoskeleton.
Craniofacial cartilages develop in close contact with other tissues and are difficult to manipulate in live animals. We are using electroporation to deliver molecular tools during growth of the craniofacial skeleton while bypassing early embryonic effects. This approach will allow us to efficiently test candidate molecules in vivo.
An in vitro model for genetic study of axon regeneration using cultured adult mouse dorsal root ganglion neurons is described. The method includes a re-suspension/re-plating step to allow axon re-growth from neurons undergoing genetic manipulation. This approach is especially useful for loss-of-function studies of axon regeneration using RNAi-based protein knockdown.
The mesothelial clearance assay described here takes advantage of fluorescently labeled cells and time-lapse video microscopy to visualize and quantitatively measure the interactions of ovarian cancer multicellular spheroids and mesothelial cell monolayers. This assay models the early steps of ovarian cancer metastasis.
1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Tulane University Medical School, 2Physician/Scientist Program, Tulane University Medical School, 3Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine
Traditional, two dimensional cell culture techniques often result in altered characteristics with respect to differentiation markers, cytokines and growth factors. Three-dimensional cell culture in the rotating cell culture system (RCCS) reestablishes expression of many of these factors as shown here with an extravillous trophoblast cell line.
We describe the isolation of neonatal cardiomyocytes and the preparation of the cells for encapsulation in fibrin hydrogel constructs for tissue engineering. We describe methods for analyzing the tissue engineered myocardium after the culture period including active force generated upon electrical stimulation and cell viability and immunohistological staining.
Adult cardiac myocytes are primary cells that can be isolated from animal hearts and cultured for several days. Within this culture period adenoviral gene transfer can be used to express genetically encoded biosensors (GEBs) or fluorescent fusion proteins. Both approaches allow cellular investigations by means of confocal microscopy.
1Institute for Molecular Cardiovascular Research, RWTH Aachen University, 2Institute for Textile Technology and Mechanical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, 3Institute for Applied Medical Engineering, Helmholtz-Institute of RWTH Aachen University, 4Department of Experimental Molecular Imaging, RWTH Aachen University, 5Department of Oral and Maxillofacila Surgery, RWTH Aachen University
A model of stent implantation in mouse carotid artery is described. Compared to other similar methods, this procedure is very rapid, simple and accessible, offering the possibility to study in a convenient way the vascular wall reaction to different drug-eluting stents and the molecular mechanisms of restenosis.
A method for photo-encapsulation of cells in a crosslinked PEG hydrogel is described. Hypoxic signaling within encapsulated murine insulinoma (MIN6) aggregates is tracked using a fluorescent marker system. This system allows serial examination of cells within a hydrogel scaffold and correlation of hypoxic signaling with changes in cell phenotype.
1Neural Development Group, Division of Cell and Developmental Biology, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK, 2Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
Imaging embryonic tissue in real-time is challenging over long periods of time. Here we present an assay for monitoring cellular and sub-cellular changes in chick spinal cord for long periods with high spatial and temporal resolution. This technique can be adapted for other regions of the nervous system and developing embryo.
The overall goal of this video is to show how to perform targeted retinal injection and in ovo electroporation of DNA/RNA constructs into the chick embryonic retina at the Hamburger and Hamilton stage 22-23, which is about embryonic day 4 (E4). This technique is very useful to study gene expression, gene regulation, and morphological change in developing chick retina.
This study describes the development of an in vitro electroporation technique that allows for the manipulation of gene expression in the lower rhombic lip of midgestation embryos.
1Departments of Pathology and Cell Biology, and Neuroscience, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 2Department of Ophthalmology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Here we present two techniques for manipulating gene expression in murine retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) by in utero and ex vivo electroporation. These techniques enable one to examine how alterations in gene expression affect RGC development, axon guidance, and functional properties.
This protocol describes a simple and inexpensive way to quantify the activity of cis-regulatory elements (i.e., enhancer/promoters) in living mouse retinas via explant electroporation. DNA preparation, retinal dissection, electroporation, retinal explant culture, and post-fixation analysis and quantification are described.