Doctor of Philosophy, Georgia Institute of Technology (2008)
Bachelor of Science, Rice University (2000)
Paul Wang, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Recombinant, elastin-like protein (ELP) polymers are of significant interest for the engineering of compliant, resilient soft tissues due to a wide range of tunable mechanical properties, biostability, and biocompatibility. Here, we enhance endothelial cell (EC) and mesenchymal stem cell compatibility with ELP constructs by addition of fibronectin (Fn) to the surface or bulk of ELP hydrogels. We find that cell adhesion, proliferation, and migration can be modulated by Fn addition. Adsorption of Fn to the hydrogel surface is more efficient than bulk blending. Surface immobilization of Fn by genipin crosslinking leads to stability without loss of bioactivity. Gels of varying mechanical modulus do not alter cell adhesion, proliferation, and migration in the range we investigate. However, more compliant gels promote an EC morphology suggesting tubulogenesis or network formation, whereas stiffer gels promote cobblestone morphology. Multilayer structures consisting of thin ELP sheets reinforced with collagen microfiber are fabricated and laminated through the culture of MSCs at layer interfaces. High cell viability in the resulting three-dimensional constructs suggests the applicability of Fn to the design of strong, resilient artificial blood vessels and other soft tissue replacements. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A, 2013.
View details for DOI 10.1002/jbm.a.34484
View details for PubMedID 23225639
Ischemic heart disease is a leading cause of death, with few options to retain ventricular function following myocardial infarction. Hematopoietic-derived progenitor cells contribute to angiogenesis and tissue repair following ischemia reperfusion injury. Motivated by the role of bone marrow extracellular matrix (BM-ECM) in supporting the proliferation and regulation of these cell populations, we investigated BM-ECM injection in myocardial repair. In BM-ECM isolated from porcine sternum, we identified several factors important for myocardial healing, including vascular endothelial growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor-2, and platelet-derived growth factor-BB. We further determined that BM-ECM serves as an adhesive substrate for endothelial cell proliferation. Bone marrow ECM was injected in a rat model of myocardial infarction, with and without a methylcellulose carrier gel. After one day, reduced infarct area was noted in rats receiving BM-ECM injection. After seven days we observed improved fractional shortening, decreased apoptosis, and significantly lower macrophage counts in the infarct border. Improvements in fractional shortening, sustained through 21 days, as well as decreased fibrotic area, enhanced angiogenesis, and greater c-kit-positive cell presence were associated with BM-ECM injection. Notably, the concentrations of BM-ECM growth factors were 10(3)-10(8) fold lower than typically required to achieve a beneficial effect, as reported in pre-clinical studies that have administered single growth factors alone.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.07.010
View details for Web of Science ID 000308619000007
View details for PubMedID 22819498
Biosynthetic strategies for the production of recombinant elastin-like protein (ELP) triblock copolymers have resulted in elastomeric protein hydrogels, formed through rapid physical crosslinking upon warming of concentrated solutions. However, the strength of physically crosslinked networks can be limited, and options for non-toxic chemical crosslinking of these networks are not optimal. In this report, we modify two recombinant elastin-like proteins with aldehyde and hydrazide functionalities. When combined, these modified recombinant proteins self-crosslink through hydrazone bonding without requiring initiators or producing by-products. Crosslinked materials are evaluated for water content and swelling upon hydration, and subject to tensile and compressive mechanical tests. Hydrazone crosslinking is a viable method for increasing the mechanical strength of elastin-like protein polymers, in a manner that is likely to lend itself to the biocompatible in situ formation of chemically and physically crosslinked ELP hydrogels.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.actbio.2011.11.024
View details for Web of Science ID 000301083900005
View details for PubMedID 22154858
Recombinant elastin-like protein (ELP) polymers display several favorable characteristics for tissue repair and replacement as well as drug delivery applications. However, these materials are derived from peptide sequences that do not lend themselves to cell adhesion, migration, or proliferation. This report describes the chemoselective ligation of peptide linkers bearing the bioactive RGD sequence to the surface of ELP hydrogels. Initially, cystamine is conjugated to ELP, followed by the temperature-driven formation of elastomeric ELP hydrogels. Cystamine reduction produces reactive thiols that are coupled to the RGD peptide linker via a terminal maleimide group. Investigations into the behavior of endothelial cells and mesenchymal stem cells on the RGD-modified ELP hydrogel surface reveal significantly enhanced attachment, spreading, migration and proliferation. Attached endothelial cells display a quiescent phenotype.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.actbio.2011.10.027
View details for Web of Science ID 000301081400017
View details for PubMedID 22061108
Artificial composites designed to mimic the structure and properties of native extracellular matrix may lead to acellular materials for soft tissue repair and replacement, which display mechanical strength, stiffness, and resilience resembling native tissue. We describe the fabrication of thin lamellae consisting of continuous collagen microfiber embedded at controlled orientations and densities in a recombinant elastin-like protein polymer matrix. Multilamellar stacking affords flexible, protein-based composite sheets whose properties are dependent upon both the elastomeric matrix and collagen content and organization. Sheets are produced with properties that range over 13-fold in elongation to break (23-314%), six-fold in Young's modulus (5.3-33.1 MPa), and more than two-fold in tensile strength (1.85-4.08 MPa), exceeding that of a number of native human tissues, including urinary bladder, pulmonary artery, and aorta. A sheet approximating the mechanical response of human abdominal wall fascia is investigated as a fascial substitute for ventral hernia repair. Protein-based composite patches prevent hernia recurrence in Wistar rats over an 8-week period with new tissue formation and sustained structural integrity.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2011.04.009
View details for Web of Science ID 000291900900007
View details for PubMedID 21550111
Vascular disease results in the decreased utility and decreased availability of autologus vascular tissue for small diameter (< 6 mm) vessel replacements. While synthetic polymer alternatives to date have failed to meet the performance of autogenous conduits, tissue-engineered replacement vessels represent an ideal solution to this clinical problem. Ongoing progress requires combined approaches from biomaterials science, cell biology, and translational medicine to develop feasible solutions with the requisite mechanical support, a non-fouling surface for blood flow, and tissue regeneration. Over the past two decades interest in blood vessel tissue engineering has soared on a global scale, resulting in the first clinical implants of multiple technologies, steady progress with several other systems, and critical lessons-learned. This review will highlight the current inadequacies of autologus and synthetic grafts, the engineering requirements for implantation of tissue-engineered grafts, and the current status of tissue-engineered blood vessel research.
View details for PubMedID 23181145
Collagen and elastin networks contribute to highly specialized biomechanical responses in numerous tissues and species. Biomechanical properties such as modulus, elasticity, and strength ultimately affect tissue function and durability, as well as local cellular behavior. In the case of vascular bypass grafts, compliance at physiologic pressures is correlated with increased patency due to a reduction in anastomotic intimal hyperplasia. In this report, we combine extracellular matrix (ECM) protein analogues to yield multilamellar vascular grafts comprised of a recombinant elastin-like protein matrix reinforced with synthetic collagen microfibers. Structural analysis revealed that the fabrication scheme permits a range of fiber orientations and volume fractions, leading to tunable mechanical properties. Burst strengths of 239-2760 mm Hg, compliances of 2.8-8.4%/100 mm Hg, and suture retention strengths of 35-192 gf were observed. The design most closely approximating all target criteria displayed a burst strength of 1483 +/- 143 mm Hg, a compliance of 5.1 +/- 0.8%/100 mm Hg, and a suture retention strength of 173 +/- 4 gf. These results indicate that through incorporation of reinforcing collagen microfibers, recombinant elastomeric protein-based biomaterials can play a significant role in load bearing tissue substitutes. We believe that similar composites can be incorporated into tissue engineering schemes that seek to integrate cells within the structure, prior to or after implantation in vivo.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.05.014
View details for Web of Science ID 000280616300030
View details for PubMedID 20584549
The universal structural role of collagen fiber networks has motivated the development of collagen gels, films, coatings, injectables, and other formulations. However, reported synthetic collagen fiber fabrication schemes have either culminated in short, discontinuous fiber segments at unsuitably low production rates, or have incompletely replicated the internal fibrillar structure that dictates fiber mechanical and biological properties. We report a continuous extrusion system with an off-line phosphate buffer incubation step for the manufacture of synthetic collagen fiber. Fiber with a cross-section of 53+ or - 14 by 21 + or - 3 microm and an ultimate tensile strength of 94 + or - 19 MPa was continuously produced at 60 m/hr from an ultrafiltered monomeric collagen solution. The effect of collagen solution concentration, flow rate, and spinneret size on fiber size was investigated. The fiber was further characterized by microdifferential scanning calorimetry, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), second harmonic generation (SHG) analysis, and in a subcutaneous murine implant model. Calorimetry demonstrated stabilization of the collagen triple helical structure, while TEM and SHG revealed a dense, axially aligned D-periodic fibril structure throughout the fiber cross-section. Implantation of glutaraldehyde crosslinked and noncrosslinked fiber in the subcutaneous tissue of mice demonstrated limited inflammatory response and biodegradation after a 6-week implant period.
View details for DOI 10.1002/jbm.b.31555
View details for PubMedID 20024969
Electrospinning was employed to fabricate 3-D fiber networks from a recombinant amphiphilic elastin-mimetic tri-block protein polymer and the effects of moderate thermal conditioning (60 degrees C, 4 h) on network mechanical responses investigated. Significantly, while cryo-high resolution scanning electron microscopy (cryo-HRSEM) revealed that the macroscopic and microscopic morphology of the network structure was unchanged, solid-state (1)H-NMR spectroscopy demonstrated enhanced interphase mixing of hydrophobic and hydrophilic blocks. Significantly, thermal annealing triggered permanent changes in network swelling behavior (28.75 +/- 2.80 non-annealed vs. 13.55 +/- 1.39 annealed; P < 0.05) and uniaxial mechanical responses, including Young's modulus (0.170 +/- 0.010 MPa non-annealed vs. 0.366 +/- 0.05 MPa annealed; P < 0.05) and ultimate tensile strength (0.079 +/- 0.008 MPa vs. 0.119 +/- 0.015 MPa; P < 0.05). To our knowledge, these investigations are the first to note that mechanical responses of protein polymers can be permanently altered through a temperature-induced change in microphase mixing.
View details for DOI 10.1163/156856208X386228
View details for Web of Science ID 000268900500010
View details for PubMedID 19619402
Recombinant protein polymers were synthesized and examined under various loading conditions to assess the mechanical stability and deformation responses of physically cross-linked, hydrated, protein polymer networks designed as triblock copolymers with central elastomeric and flanking plastic-like blocks. Uniaxial stress-strain properties, creep and stress relaxation behavior, as well as the effect of various mechanical preconditioning protocols on these responses were characterized. Significantly, we demonstrate for the first time that ABA triblock protein copolymers when redesigned with substantially larger endblock segments can withstand significantly greater loads. Furthermore, the presence of three distinct phases of deformation behavior was revealed upon subjecting physically cross-linked protein networks to step and cyclic loading protocols in which the magnitude of the imposed stress was incrementally increased over time. We speculate that these phases correspond to the stretch of polypeptide bonds, the conformational changes of polypeptide chains, and the disruption of physical cross-links. The capacity to select a genetically engineered protein polymer that is suitable for its intended application requires an appreciation of its viscoelastic characteristics and the capacity of both molecular structure and conditioning protocols to influence these properties.
View details for DOI 10.1021/bm800012x
View details for Web of Science ID 000257639500011
View details for PubMedID 18558738
Noncoronary atherosclerotic vascular disease, including symptomatic lower extremity peripheral arterial disease (PAD), promises to extract a steadily rising medical and economic toll over the coming decades. Although drug-eluting stents have led to substantial advances in the management of coronary atherosclerosis, endovascular treatment of noncoronary, peripheral arterial lesions continues to yield high restenosis rates and early clinical failures. In this report, we review recent developments in microfabrication and nanotechnology strategies that offer new opportunities for improving stent-based technology for the treatment of more extensive and complex lesions. In this regard, stents with microfabricated reservoirs for controlled temporal and spatial drug release have already been successfully applied to coronary lesions. Microfabricated needles to pierce lesions and deliver therapeutics deep within the vascular wall represent an additional microscale approach. At the nanoscale, investigators have primarily sought to alter the strut surface texture or coat the stent to enhance inductive or conductive schemes for endothelialization and host artery integration. Nanotechnology research that identifies promising strategies to limit restenosis through targeted drug delivery after angioplasty and stenting is also reviewed.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jvs.2006.08.046
View details for Web of Science ID 000242564400042
View details for PubMedID 17145446
A stabilized, membrane-mimetic film was produced on the luminal surface of an ePTFE vascular graft by in situ photopolymerization of an acrylate functonalized phospholipid using a fiber optic diffusing probe. The phospholipid monomer was synthesized, prepared as unilamellar vesicles, and fused onto close-packed octadecyl chains that were components of an amphiphilic terpolymer anchored onto the polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) by electrostatic interactions. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) confirmed that gelatin impregnation of the graft followed by the subsequent biomimetic film coating filled in the fibril and node structure of the luminal surface of the ePTFE graft and was smooth. The lipid film displayed an initial advancing contact angle of 44 degrees , which increased to 55 degrees after being subjected to a wall shear rate of 500s(-1) for 24h at 37 degrees C in phosphate buffered saline (PBS). Fourier transform (FT-IR) spectroscopy was used to characterize the stages of biomimetic film assembly and confirmed the stability of the film under shear flow conditions. In vivo assessment using a baboon femoral arteriovenous shunt model demonstrated minimal platelet and fibrinogen deposition over a 1-h blood-contacting period. The results of this study confirm the versatility of a biomimetic film coating system by successfully transferring the methodology previously developed for planar substrates to the luminal surface of an ePTFE vascular graft.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2006.01.009
View details for Web of Science ID 000236783000016
View details for PubMedID 16516285
Physically cross-linked protein-based materials possess a number of advantages over their chemically cross-linked counterparts, including ease of processing and the ability to avoid the addition or removal of chemical reagents or unreacted intermediates. The investigations reported herein sought to examine the nature of physical cross-links within two-phase elastin-mimetic protein triblock copolymer networks through an analysis of macroscopic viscoelastic properties. Given the capacity of solution processing conditions, including solvent type and temperature to modulate the microstructure of two-phase protein polymer networks, viscoelastic properties were examined under conditions in which interphase block mixing had been either accentuated or diminished during network formation. Protein networks exhibited strikingly different properties in terms of elastic modulus, hysteresis, residual deformability, and viscosity in response to interdomain mixing. Thus, two-phase protein polymer networks exhibit tunable responses that extend the range of application of these materials to a variety of tissue engineering applications.
View details for DOI 10.1021/bm0503468
View details for Web of Science ID 000233392100021
View details for PubMedID 16283724
Synthesis and characterization of cinnamated Type I collagen and its related mechanical properties after photomediated crosslinking were investigated in detail. Using an EDC/NHS conjugation method, collagen was chemically modified to incorporate a photosensitive cinnamate moiety. The cinnamated collagen was fully characterized by 1H NMR, UV-vis, and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, as well as by rheological and mechanical analyses. Cinnamated collagens with varying degrees of derivatization retained collagen triple helical structure. The rheological spectra of collagen solutions demonstrate that the storage modulus decreases with increasing cinnamate content, owing to a decrease in physical crosslinking. The kinetics of the crosslinking process in both hydrated gels and dry films were monitored by UV-vis spectroscopy and confirmed that crosslinking was complete within 60 min of irradiation. The uniaxial stress-strain behavior of crosslinked collagen films, including Young's modulus and ultimate tensile strength, was comparable to values reported for glutaraldehyde-crosslinked monomeric collagen films. These data demonstrate that derivatization of collagen with photosensitive cinnamate moieties provides a facile route for solid-state crosslinking, thereby improving the mechanical properties of collagen and enhancing the potential applicability of collagen-based materials in tissue engineering and drug delivery.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2004.10.017
View details for Web of Science ID 000227143800027
View details for PubMedID 15626450
The analysis of experimental data of exponential type plays a central role in many biophysical applications. We introduce a novel noniterative algorithm to analyze the association phase and dissociation phase of surface plasmon resonance experiments. It is shown that this algorithm can determine kinetic constants with a high level of accuracy in the presence of significant levels of noise. This algorithm should provide a valuable alternative to existing data analysis techniques.
View details for Web of Science ID 000180186300008
View details for PubMedID 12479835