Biologically relevant, three-dimensional extracellular matrix is an essential component of in vitro vasculogenesis models. WI-38 fibroblasts assemble a 3D matrix that induces endothelial tubulogenesis, but this model is challenged by fibroblast senescence and the inability to distinguish endothelial cell-derived matrix from matrix made by WI-38 fibroblasts. Matrices produced by hTERT-immortalized WI-38 recapitulated those produced by wild type fibroblasts. ECM fibrils were heavily populated by tenascin-C, fibronectin, and type VI collagen. Nearly half of the total type I collagen, but only a small fraction of the type IV collagen, were incorporated into ECM. Stable hTERT-WI-38 transfectants expressing TagRFP-fibronectin incorporated TagRFP into ~90% of the fibronectin in 3D matrices. TagRFP-fibronectin colocalized with tenascin-C and with type I collagen in a pattern that was similar to that seen in matrices from wild type WI-38. Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC) formed 3D adhesions and tubes on WI38-hTERT-TagRFP-FN-derived matrices, and the TagRFP-fibronectin component of this new 3D human fibroblast matrix model facilitated the demonstration of concentrated membrane type 1 metalloprotease and new HUVEC FN and collagen type IV fibrils during EC tubulogenesis. These findings indicate that WI-38-hTERT- and WI-38-hTERT-TagRFP-FN-derived matrices provide platforms for the definition of new matrix assembly and remodeling events during vasculogenesis.
Increased arginase activity contributes to endothelial dysfunction by competition for l-arginine substrate and reciprocal regulation of nitric oxide synthase (NOS). The rapid increase in arginase activity in human aortic endothelial cells exposed to oxidized low-density lipoprotein (OxLDL) is consistent with post-translational modification or subcellular trafficking.
Arginase 2 (Arg2) is a critical target in atherosclerosis because it controls endothelial nitric oxide, proliferation, fibrosis, and inflammation. Regulators of Arg2 transcription in the endothelium have not been characterized. The goal of the current study is to determine the role of specific histone deacetylases (HDACs) in the regulation of endothelial Arg2 transcription and endothelial function.
Detailed control over the structural organization of scaffolds and engineered tissue constructs is a critical need in the quest to engineer functional tissues using biomaterials. This work presents a new approach to spatially direct endothelial tubulogenesis. Micropatterned fibronectin substrates were used to control lung fibroblast adhesion and growth and the subsequent deposition of fibroblast-derived matrix during culture. The fibroblast-derived matrix produced on the micropatterned substrates was tightly oriented by these patterns, with an average variation of only 8.5°. Further, regions of this oriented extracellular matrix provided directional control of developing endothelial tubes to within 10° of the original micropatterned substrate design. Endothelial cells seeded directly onto the micropatterned substrate did not form tubes. A metric for matrix anisotropy showed a relationship between the fibroblast-derived matrix and the endothelial tubes that were subsequently developed on the same micropatterns with a resulting aspect ratio over 1.5 for endothelial tubulogenesis. Micropatterns in "L" and "Y" shapes were used to direct endothelial tubes to turn and branch with the same level of precision. These data demonstrate that anisotropic fibroblast-derived matrices instruct the alignment and shape of endothelial tube networks, thereby introducing an approach that could be adapted for future design of microvascular implants featuring organ-specific natural matrix that patterns microvascular growth.
Regulated biophysical cues, such as nanotopography, have been shown to be integral for tissue regeneration and embryogenesis in the stem cell niche. Tissue homeostasis involves the interaction of multipotent cells with nanoscaled topographical features in their ECM to regulate aspects of cell behavior. Synthetic nanostructures can drive specific cell differentiation, but the sensing mechanisms for nanocues remain poorly understood. Here, we report that nanotopography-induced human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) differentiation through cell mechanotransduction is modulated by the integrin-activated focal adhesion kinase (FAK). On nanogratings with 250 nm line width on polydimethylsiloxane, hMSCs developed aligned stress fibers and showed an upregulation of neurogenic and myogenic differentiation markers. The observed cellular focal adhesions within these cells were also significantly smaller and more elongated on the nanogratings compared to microgratings or unpatterned control. In addition, our mechanistic study confirmed that this regulation was dependent upon actomyosin contractility, suggesting a direct force-dependent mechanism. The topography-induced differentiation was observed on different ECM compositions but the response was not indicative of a direct ECM-induced hMSC differentiation pathway. FAK phosphorylation was required for topography-induced hMSC differentiation while FAK overexpression overruled the topographical cues in determining cell lineage bias. The results indicated that FAK activity had a direct impact on topography-induced gene expression, and that this effect of FAK was independent of cell shape. These findings suggest that hMSC sense and transduce nanotopographical signals through focal adhesions and actomyosin cytoskeleton contractility to induce differential gene expression.
Rac1 influences a multiplicity of vital cellular- and tissue-level control functions, making it an important candidate for targeted therapeutics. The activity of the Rho family member Cdc42 has been shown to be modulated by tyrosine phosphorylation at position 64. We therefore investigated consequences of the point mutations Y64F and Y64D in Rac1. Both mutations altered cell spreading from baseline in the settings of wild type, constitutively active, or dominant negative Rac1 expression, and were accompanied by differences in Rac1 targeting to focal adhesions. Rac1-Y64F displayed increased GTP-binding, increased association with ?PIX, and reduced binding with RhoGDI as compared with wild type Rac1. Rac1-Y64D had less binding to PAK than Rac1-WT or Rac1-64F. In vitro assays demonstrated that Y64 in Rac1 is a target for FAK and Src. Taken together, these data suggest a mechanism for the regulation of Rac1 activity by non-receptor tyrosine kinases, with consequences for membrane extension.
Critical care rotations involve emotionally unsettling situations with greater frequency and intensity than those that are encountered in other portions of residency training. New approaches are needed to optimize the preparation and professionalism of postgraduate medical trainees when managing crisis management scenarios.
Arginase II regulates NOS activity by competing for the substrate l-arginine. Oxidized LDL (OxLDL) is a proatherogenic molecule that activates arginase II. We tested the hypotheses that OxLDL-dependent arginase II activation occurs through a specific receptor, and via a Rho GTPase effector mechanism that is inhibited by statins.
Recent work has indicated that the shape and size of a cell can influence how a cell spreads, develops focal adhesions, and exerts forces on the substrate. However, it is unclear how cell shape regulates these events. Here we present a computational model that uses cell shape to predict the magnitude and direction of forces generated by cells. The predicted results are compared to experimentally measured traction forces, and show that the model can predict traction force direction, relative magnitude, and force distribution within the cell using only cell shape as an input. Analysis of the model shows that the magnitude and direction of the traction force at a given point is proportional to the first moment of area about that point in the cell, suggesting that contractile forces within the cell act on the entire cytoskeletal network as a single cohesive unit. Through this model, we demonstrate that intrinsic properties of cell shape can facilitate changes in traction force patterns, independently of heterogeneous mechanical properties or signaling events within the cell.
Radiation exposure can increase the risk for many non-malignant physiological complications, including cardiovascular disease. We have previously demonstrated that ionizing radiation can induce endothelial dysfunction, which contributes to increased vascular stiffness. In this study, we demonstrate that gamma radiation exposure reduced endothelial cell viability or proliferative capacity using an in vitro aortic angiogenesis assay. Segments of mouse aorta were embedded in a Matrigel-media matrix 1 day after mice received whole-body gamma irradiation between 0 and 20 Gy. Using three-dimensional phase contrast microscopy, we quantified cellular outgrowth from the aorta. Through fluorescent imaging of embedded aortas from Tie2GFP transgenic mice, we determined that the cellular outgrowth is primarily of endothelial cell origin. Significantly less endothelial cell outgrowth was observed in aortas of mice receiving radiation of 5, 10, and 20 Gy radiation, suggesting radiation-induced endothelial injury. Following 0.5 and 1 Gy doses of whole-body irradiation, reduced outgrowth was still detected. Furthermore, outgrowth was not affected by the location of the aortic segments excised along the descending aorta. In conclusion, a single exposure to gamma radiation significantly reduces endothelial cell outgrowth in a dose-dependent manner. Consequently, radiation exposure may inhibit re-endothelialization or angiogenesis after a vascular injury, which would impede vascular recovery.
The mechanical properties of the extracellular microenvironment regulate cell behavior, including migration, proliferation and morphogenesis. Although the elastic moduli of synthetic materials have been studied, little is known about the properties of naturally produced extracellular matrix. Here we have utilized atomic force microscopy to characterize the microelastic properties of decellularized cell-derived matrix from human pulmonary fibroblasts. This heterogeneous three-dimensional matrix had an average thickness of 5 ± 0.4 ?m and a Youngs modulus of 105 ± 14 Pa. Ascorbate treatment of the lung fibroblasts prior to extraction produced a twofold increase in collagen I content, but did not affect the stiffness of the matrices compared with matrices produced in standard medium. However, fibroblast-derived matrices that were crosslinked with glutaraldehyde demonstrated a 67% increase in stiffness. This work provides a microscale characterization of fibroblast-derived matrix mechanical properties. An accurate understanding of native three-dimensional extracellular microenvironments will be essential for controlling cell responses in tissue engineering applications.
Cancers display distinct patterns of organ-specific metastasis. Comparative analysis of a broad array of cell membrane molecules on a liver-metastasizing subline of B16 melanoma versus the parental B16-F0 revealed unique up-regulation of integrin alpha2. The direct role of integrin alpha2 in hepatic metastasis was shown by comparison of high versus low-expressing populations, antibody blockade, and ectopic expression. Integrin alpha2-mediated binding to collagen type IV (highly exposed in the liver sinusoids) and collagen type IV-dependent activation of focal adhesion kinase are both known to be important in the metastatic process. Analysis of primary colorectal cancers as well as coexisting liver and lung metastases from individual patients suggests that integrin alpha2 expression contributes to liver metastasis in human colorectal cancer. These findings define integrin alpha2 as a molecule conferring selective potential for formation of hepatic metastasis, as well as a possible target to prevent their formation.
Extracellular matrix plays a critical role in cellular development by providing signaling cues that direct morphogenesis. In order to study both the cues that natural matrix provides and endothelial cell responses to that information, human fetal lung fibroblasts were used to produce a fibrous three-dimensional matrix. Following the removal of the fibroblasts by detergent extraction, protein and proteoglycan constituents of the remaining matrix were identified by immunofluorescence and immunoblotting. Matrix components included fibronectin, tenascin-C, collagen I, collagen IV, collagen VI, versican, and decorin. Colocalization analysis suggested that fibronectin was a uniquely distributed matrix protein. Morphology, three-dimensional matrix adhesions, and integrin-mediated signaling during vasculogenesis were then studied in human endothelial cells seeded onto the fibroblast-derived matrix. Elongated morphology and decreased cell area were noted, as compared with cells on fibronectin-coated coverslips. Cell-matrix adhesions contained vinculin, pY397-FAK, and pY410-p130Cas, and all of these colocalized more with fibronectin than tenascin-C, collagen I, or collagen VI. Additionally, the endothelial cells remodeled the fibroblast-derived matrix and formed networks of tubes with demonstrable lumens. Matrix adhesions in these tubes also predominantly colocalized with fibronectin. The pattern of membrane type 1 matrix metalloprotease expression in the endothelial cells suggested its involvement in the matrix remodeling that occurred during tubulogenesis. These results indicated that information in fibroblast-derived matrix promoted vasculogenic behavior.
Interactions between cells and the surrounding matrix are critical to the development and engineering of tissues. We have investigated the role of cell-derived traction forces in the assembly of extracellular matrix using what we believe is a novel assay that allows for simultaneous measurement of traction forces and fibronectin fibril growth at discrete cell-matrix attachment sites. NIH3T3 cells were plated onto arrays of deformable cantilever posts for 2-24 h. Data indicate that developing fibril orientation is guided by the direction of the traction force applied to that fibril. In addition, cells initially establish a spatial distribution of traction forces that is largest at the cell edge and decreases toward the cell center. This distribution progressively shifts from a predominantly peripheral pattern to a more uniform pattern as compressive strain at the cell perimeter decreases with time. The impact of these changes on fibrillogenesis was tested by treating cells with blebbistatin or calyculin A to tonically block or augment, respectively, myosin II activity. Both treatments blocked the inward translation of traction forces, the dissipation of compressive strain, and fibronectin fibrillogenesis over time. These data indicate that dynamic spatial and temporal changes in traction force and local strain may contribute to successful matrix assembly.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is an increasingly recognized complication of premature birth and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Extreme phenotypic variability exists among preterm infants of similar gestational ages, making it difficult to predict which infants are at increased risk for developing PH. Intrauterine growth retardation or drug exposures, postnatal therapy with prolonged positive pressure ventilation, cardiovascular shunts, poor postnatal lung and somatic growth, and genetic or epigenetic factors may all contribute to the development of PH in preterm infants with BPD. In addition to the variability of severity of PH, there is also qualitative variability seen in PH, such as the variable responses to vasoactive medications. To reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with PH, a multi-pronged approach is needed. First, improved screening for and increased recognition of PH may allow for earlier treatment and better clinical outcomes. Second, identification of both prenatal and postnatal risk factors for the development of PH may allow targeting of therapy and resources for those at highest risk. Third, understanding the pathophysiology of the preterm pulmonary vascular bed may help improve outcomes through recognizing pathways that are dysregulated in PH, identifying novel biomarkers, and testing novel treatments. Finally, the recognition of conditions and exposures that may exacerbate or lead to recurrent PH is needed to help with developing treatment guidelines and preventative strategies that can be used to reduce the burden of disease.
Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) is a common virus that can cause respiratory problems ranging from mild upper respiratory tract disease to respiratory failure requiring mechanical support. Here, we report a case of a 32-month-old male with a previous history of asthma, who developed respiratory failure two weeks after onset of cough and rhinorrhea and required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for 9 days after failing high-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV). To our knowledge, this is the oldest reported pediatric patient with respiratory failure secondary to human metapneumovirus that did not respond to mechanical ventilation. This case highlights three critical points: the potentially fatal causative role of HMPV in respiratory failure in an older pediatric age group of immunocompetent hosts, the importance of early recognition of impending respiratory failure, and the timely utilization of ECMO.
The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of inhaled epoprostenol for treatment of acute pulmonary hypertension (PH) in pediatric patients and to formulate a plan for a prospective, randomized study of pulmonary vasodilator therapy in this population. Inhaled epoprostenol is an effective treatment for pediatric PH. A retrospective chart review was conducted of all pediatric patients who received inhaled epoprostenol at a tertiary care hospital between October 2005 and August 2007. The study population was restricted to all patients under 18 years of age who received inhaled epoprostenol for greater than 1 hour and had available data for oxygenation index (OI) calculation. Arterial blood gas values and ventilator settings were collected immediately prior to epoprostenol initiation, and during epoprostenol therapy (as close to 12 hours after initiation as possible). Echocardiograms were reviewed during two time frames: Within 48 hours prior to therapy initiation and within 96 hours after initiation. Of the 20 patients in the study population, 13 were neonates, and the mean OI for these patients improved during epoprostenol administration (mean OI before and during therapy was 25.6±16.3 and 14.5±13.6, respectively, P=0.02). Mean OI for the seven patients greater than 30 days of age was not significantly different during treatment (mean OI before and during therapy was 29.6±15.0 and 25.6±17.8, P=0.56). Improvement in echocardiographic findings (evidence of decreased right-sided pressures or improved right ventricular function) was demonstrated in 20% of all patients. Inhaled epoprostenol is an effective therapy for the treatment of selected pediatric patients with acute PH. Neonates may benefit more consistently from this therapy than older infants and children. A randomized controlled trial is needed to discern the optimal role for inhaled prostanoids in the treatment of acute PH in childhood.
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