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J. Funct. Biomater., Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 2015) , Pages 153-485

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Open AccessReview
Cell Surface and Membrane Engineering: Emerging Technologies and Applications
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 454-485; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020454 - 18 Jun 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2698
Abstract
Membranes constitute the interface between the basic unit of life—a single cell—and the outside environment and thus in many ways comprise the ultimate “functional biomaterial”. To perform the many and often conflicting functions required in this role, for example to partition intracellular contents [...] Read more.
Membranes constitute the interface between the basic unit of life—a single cell—and the outside environment and thus in many ways comprise the ultimate “functional biomaterial”. To perform the many and often conflicting functions required in this role, for example to partition intracellular contents from the outside environment while maintaining rapid intake of nutrients and efflux of waste products, biological membranes have evolved tremendous complexity and versatility. This article describes how membranes, mainly in the context of living cells, are increasingly being manipulated for practical purposes with drug discovery, biofuels, and biosensors providing specific, illustrative examples. Attention is also given to biology-inspired, but completely synthetic, membrane-based technologies that are being enabled by emerging methods such as bio-3D printers. The diverse set of applications covered in this article are intended to illustrate how these versatile technologies—as they rapidly mature—hold tremendous promise to benefit human health in numerous ways ranging from the development of new medicines to sensitive and cost-effective environmental monitoring for pathogens and pollutants to replacing hydrocarbon-based fossil fuels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Controlled Delivery of Human Cells by Temperature Responsive Microcapsules
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 439-453; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020439 - 18 Jun 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2910 | Correction
Abstract
Cell therapy is one of the most promising areas within regenerative medicine. However, its full potential is limited by the rapid loss of introduced therapeutic cells before their full effects can be exploited, due in part to anoikis, and in part to the [...] Read more.
Cell therapy is one of the most promising areas within regenerative medicine. However, its full potential is limited by the rapid loss of introduced therapeutic cells before their full effects can be exploited, due in part to anoikis, and in part to the adverse environments often found within the pathologic tissues that the cells have been grafted into. Encapsulation of individual cells has been proposed as a means of increasing cell viability. In this study, we developed a facile, high throughput method for creating temperature responsive microcapsules comprising agarose, gelatin and fibrinogen for delivery and subsequent controlled release of cells. We verified the hypothesis that composite capsules combining agarose and gelatin, which possess different phase transition temperatures from solid to liquid, facilitated the destabilization of the capsules for cell release. Cell encapsulation and controlled release was demonstrated using human fibroblasts as model cells, as well as a therapeutically relevant cell line—human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). While such temperature responsive cell microcapsules promise effective, controlled release of potential therapeutic cells at physiological temperatures, further work will be needed to augment the composition of the microcapsules and optimize the numbers of cells per capsule prior to clinical evaluation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Human Keratoconus Cell Contractility is Mediated by Transforming Growth Factor-Beta Isoforms
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 422-438; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020422 - 18 Jun 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2542
Abstract
Keratoconus (KC) is a progressive disease linked to defects in the structural components of the corneal stroma. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is secreted and assembled by corneal keratocytes and regulated by transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β). We have previously identified alterations in the TGF-β [...] Read more.
Keratoconus (KC) is a progressive disease linked to defects in the structural components of the corneal stroma. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is secreted and assembled by corneal keratocytes and regulated by transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β). We have previously identified alterations in the TGF-β pathway in human keratoconus cells (HKCs) compared to normal corneal fibroblasts (HCFs). In our current study, we seeded HKCs and HCFs in 3D-collagen gels to identify variations in contractility, and expression of matrix metalloproteases (MMPs) by HKCs in response the TGF-β isoforms. HKCs showed delayed contractility with decreased Collagen I:Collagen V ratios. TGF-β1 significantly increased ECM contraction, Collagen I, and Collagen V expression by HKCs. We also found that HKCs have significantly decreased Collagen I:Collagen III ratios suggesting a potential link to altered collagen isoform expression in KC. Our findings show that HKCs have significant variations in collagen secretion in a 3D collagen gel and have delayed contraction of the matrix compared to HCFs. For the first time, we utilize a collagen gel model to characterize the contractility and MMP expression by HKCs that may contribute to the pathobiology of KC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocular Tissue Engineering) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of a Pre-Clinical Mini-Pig Model of Scaphoid Non-Union
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 407-421; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020407 - 16 Jun 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2434
Abstract
A fractured scaphoid is a common disabling injury that is frequently complicated by non-union. The treatment of non-union remains challenging because of the scaphoid’s small size and delicate blood supply. Large animal models are the most reliable method to evaluate the efficacy of [...] Read more.
A fractured scaphoid is a common disabling injury that is frequently complicated by non-union. The treatment of non-union remains challenging because of the scaphoid’s small size and delicate blood supply. Large animal models are the most reliable method to evaluate the efficacy of new treatment modalities before their translation into clinical practice. The goal of this study was to model a human scaphoid fracture complicated by non-union in Yucatan mini-pigs. Imaging and perfusion studies were used to confirm that the anatomy and blood supply of the radiocarpal bone in mini-pigs were similar to the human scaphoid. A 3 mm osteotomy of the radiocarpal bone was generated and treated with immediate fixation or filled with a dense collagen gel followed by delayed fixation. Bone healing was assessed using quantitative micro computed tomography and histology. With immediate fixation, the osteotomy site was filled with new bone across its whole length resulting in complete bridging. The dense collagen gel, previously shown to impede neo-vascularization, followed by delayed fixation resulted in impaired bridging with less bone of lower quality. This model is an appropriate, easily reproducible model for the evaluation of novel approaches for the repair of human scaphoid fractures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Permanent Deformations of Superelastic and Shape Memory Materials
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 398-406; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020398 - 11 Jun 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2307
Abstract
In this paper we propose a modification of the polycrystalline shape memory alloy constitutive model originally proposed by Souza. By introducing a transformation strain energy with two different hardening coefficients, we are able to take into account the effect of the martensitic transformation [...] Read more.
In this paper we propose a modification of the polycrystalline shape memory alloy constitutive model originally proposed by Souza. By introducing a transformation strain energy with two different hardening coefficients, we are able to take into account the effect of the martensitic transformation of unfavorably oriented grains occurring after the main plateau. By choosing a proper second hardening coefficient, it is possible to reproduce the correct stress strain behavior of the material after the plateau without the need of introducing a much smaller Young modulus for martensite. The proposed modification is introduced in the model comprising permanent deformation effects. Model results for uniaxial stress tests are compared to experimental results showing good agreement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Applications of Shape Memory Alloys)
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Open AccessEditorial
Journal of Functional Biomaterials Best Paper Award 2015
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 395-397; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020395 - 09 Jun 2015
Viewed by 2100
Abstract
The Journal of Functional Biomaterials is instituting an annual award to recognize the outstanding papers related to materials for biomedical applications published in this journal. [...] Full article
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Open AccessReview
Lipid Nanoparticles for Ocular Gene Delivery
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 379-394; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020379 - 08 Jun 2015
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 3589
Abstract
Lipids contain hydrocarbons and are the building blocks of cells. Lipids can naturally form themselves into nano-films and nano-structures, micelles, reverse micelles, and liposomes. Micelles or reverse micelles are monolayer structures, whereas liposomes are bilayer structures. Liposomes have been recognized as carriers for [...] Read more.
Lipids contain hydrocarbons and are the building blocks of cells. Lipids can naturally form themselves into nano-films and nano-structures, micelles, reverse micelles, and liposomes. Micelles or reverse micelles are monolayer structures, whereas liposomes are bilayer structures. Liposomes have been recognized as carriers for drug delivery. Solid lipid nanoparticles and lipoplex (liposome-polycation-DNA complex), also called lipid nanoparticles, are currently used to deliver drugs and genes to ocular tissues. A solid lipid nanoparticle (SLN) is typically spherical, and possesses a solid lipid core matrix that can solubilize lipophilic molecules. The lipid nanoparticle, called the liposome protamine/DNA lipoplex (LPD), is electrostatically assembled from cationic liposomes and an anionic protamine-DNA complex. The LPD nanoparticles contain a highly condensed DNA core surrounded by lipid bilayers. SLNs are extensively used to deliver drugs to the cornea. LPD nanoparticles are used to target the retina. Age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and diabetic retinopathy are the most common retinal diseases in humans. There have also been promising results achieved recently with LPD nanoparticles to deliver functional genes and micro RNA to treat retinal diseases. Here, we review recent advances in ocular drug and gene delivery employing lipid nanoparticles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocular Tissue Engineering) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Biomimetic Hybrid Nanofiber Sheets Composed of RGD Peptide-Decorated PLGA as Cell-Adhesive Substrates
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 367-378; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020367 - 29 May 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3111
Abstract
In biomedical applications, there is a need for tissue engineering scaffolds to promote and control cellular behaviors, including adhesion, proliferation and differentiation. In particular, the initial adhesion of cells has a great influence on those cellular behaviors. In this study, we concentrate on [...] Read more.
In biomedical applications, there is a need for tissue engineering scaffolds to promote and control cellular behaviors, including adhesion, proliferation and differentiation. In particular, the initial adhesion of cells has a great influence on those cellular behaviors. In this study, we concentrate on developing cell-adhesive substrates applicable for tissue engineering scaffolds. The hybrid nanofiber sheets were prepared by electrospinning poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and M13 phage, which was genetically modified to enhance cell adhesion thru expressing RGD peptides on their surface. The RGD peptide is a specific motif of extracellular matrix (ECM) for integrin receptors of cells. RGD peptide-decorated PLGA (RGD-PLGA) nanofiber sheets were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, immunofluorescence staining, contact angle measurement and differential scanning calorimetry. In addition, the initial adhesion and proliferation of four different types of mammalian cells were determined in order to evaluate the potential of RGD-PLGA nanofiber sheets as cell-adhesive substrates. Our results showed that the hybrid nanofiber sheets have a three-dimensional porous structure comparable to the native ECM. Furthermore, the initial adhesion and proliferation of cells were significantly enhanced on RGD-PLGA sheets. These results suggest that biomimetic RGD-PLGA nanofiber sheets can be promising cell-adhesive substrates for application as tissue engineering scaffolds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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Open AccessArticle
Treatment of Silk Fibroin with Poly(ethylene glycol) for the Enhancement of Corneal Epithelial Cell Growth
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 345-366; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020345 - 29 May 2015
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2793
Abstract
A silk protein, fibroin, was isolated from the cocoons of the domesticated silkworm (Bombyx mori) and cast into membranes to serve as freestanding templates for tissue-engineered corneal cell constructs to be used in ocular surface reconstruction. In this study, we sought [...] Read more.
A silk protein, fibroin, was isolated from the cocoons of the domesticated silkworm (Bombyx mori) and cast into membranes to serve as freestanding templates for tissue-engineered corneal cell constructs to be used in ocular surface reconstruction. In this study, we sought to enhance the attachment and proliferation of corneal epithelial cells by increasing the permeability of the fibroin membranes and the topographic roughness of their surface. By mixing the fibroin solution with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) of molecular weight 300 Da, membranes were produced with increased permeability and with topographic patterns generated on their surface. In order to enhance their mechanical stability, some PEG-treated membranes were also crosslinked with genipin. The resulting membranes were thoroughly characterized and compared to the non-treated membranes. The PEG-treated membranes were similar in tensile strength to the non-treated ones, but their elastic modulus was higher and elongation lower, indicating enhanced rigidity. The crosslinking with genipin did not induce a significant improvement in mechanical properties. In cultures of a human-derived corneal epithelial cell line (HCE-T), the PEG treatment of the substratum did not improve the attachment of cells and it enhanced only slightly the cell proliferation in the longer term. Likewise, primary cultures of human limbal epithelial cells grew equally well on both non-treated and PEG-treated membranes, and the stratification of cultures was consistently improved in the presence of an underlying culture of irradiated 3T3 feeder cells, irrespectively of PEG-treatment. Nevertheless, the cultures grown on the PEG-treated membranes in the presence of feeder cells did display a higher nuclear-to-cytoplasmic ratio suggesting a more proliferative phenotype. We concluded that while the treatment with PEG had a significant effect on some structural properties of the B. mori silk fibroin (BMSF) membranes, there were minimal gains in the performance of these materials as a substratum for corneal epithelial cell growth. The reduced mechanical stability of freestanding PEG-treated membranes makes them a less viable choice than the non-treated membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocular Tissue Engineering) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Applications of Shape Memory Alloys for Neurology and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 328-344; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020328 - 27 May 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2553
Abstract
Shape memory alloys (SMAs) are a very promising class of metallic materials that display interesting nonlinear properties, such as pseudoelasticity (PE), shape memory effect (SME) and damping capacity, due to high mechanical hysteresis and internal friction. Our group has applied SMA in the [...] Read more.
Shape memory alloys (SMAs) are a very promising class of metallic materials that display interesting nonlinear properties, such as pseudoelasticity (PE), shape memory effect (SME) and damping capacity, due to high mechanical hysteresis and internal friction. Our group has applied SMA in the field of neuromuscular rehabilitation, designing some new devices based on the mentioned SMA properties: in particular, a new type of orthosis for spastic limb repositioning, which allows residual voluntary movement of the impaired limb and has no predetermined final target position, but follows and supports muscular elongation in a dynamic and compliant way. Considering patients in the sub-acute phase after a neurological lesion, and possibly bedridden, the paper presents a mobiliser for the ankle joint, which is designed exploiting the SME to provide passive exercise to the paretic lower limb. Two different SMA-based applications in the field of neuroscience are then presented, a guide and a limb mobiliser specially designed to be compatible with diagnostic instrumentations that impose rigid constraints in terms of electromagnetic compatibility and noise distortion. Finally, the paper discusses possible uses of these materials in the treatment of movement disorders, such as dystonia or hyperkinesia, where their dynamic characteristics can be advantageous. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Applications of Shape Memory Alloys)
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Open AccessArticle
Complications Related to Metal-on-Metal Articulation in Trapeziometacarpal Joint Total Joint Arthroplasty
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 318-327; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020318 - 25 May 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2529
Abstract
Adverse reactions to metal-on-metal (MoM) prostheses are well known from total hip joint resurfacing arthroplasty with elevated serum chrome or cobalt, pain and pseudo tumor formation. It may, however, also be seen after total joint replacement of the trapeziometacarpal joint using MoM articulation, [...] Read more.
Adverse reactions to metal-on-metal (MoM) prostheses are well known from total hip joint resurfacing arthroplasty with elevated serum chrome or cobalt, pain and pseudo tumor formation. It may, however, also be seen after total joint replacement of the trapeziometacarpal joint using MoM articulation, and we present two cases of failure of MoM prostheses due to elevated metal-serum levels in one case and pseudo tumor formation in another case. Furthermore, we suggest a diagnostic algorithm for joint pain after MoM trapeziometacarpal joint replacement based on published experiences from MoM hip prostheses and adverse reactions to metal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Tribology of Artificial Hip and Knee Joints)
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Open AccessArticle
Computational Modeling to Predict Fatigue Behavior of NiTi Stents: What Do We Need?
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 299-317; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020299 - 20 May 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2429
Abstract
NiTi (nickel-titanium) stents are nowadays commonly used for the percutaneous treatment of peripheral arterial disease. However, their effectiveness is still debated in the clinical field. In fact a peculiar cyclic biomechanical environment is created before and after stent implantation, with the risk of [...] Read more.
NiTi (nickel-titanium) stents are nowadays commonly used for the percutaneous treatment of peripheral arterial disease. However, their effectiveness is still debated in the clinical field. In fact a peculiar cyclic biomechanical environment is created before and after stent implantation, with the risk of device fatigue failure. An accurate study of the device fatigue behavior is of primary importance to ensure a successful stenting procedure. Regulatory authorities recognize the possibility of performing computational analyses instead of experimental tests for the assessment of medical devices. However, confidence in numerical methods is only possible after verification and validation of the models used. For the case of NiTi stents, mechanical properties are strongly dependent on the device dimensions and the whole treatments undergone during manufacturing process. Hence, special attention should be paid to the accuracy of the description of the device geometry and the material properties implementation into the numerical code, as well as to the definition of the fatigue limit. In this paper, a path for setting up an effective numerical model for NiTi stent fatigue assessment is proposed and the results of its application in a specific case study are illustrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Applications of Shape Memory Alloys)
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Open AccessReview
Nanomedicine Approaches for Corneal Diseases
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 277-298; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020277 - 30 Apr 2015
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 3587
Abstract
Corneal diseases are the third leading cause of blindness globally. Topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, antibiotics and tissue transplantation are currently used to treat corneal pathological conditions. However, barrier properties of the ocular surface necessitate high concentration of the drugs applied in [...] Read more.
Corneal diseases are the third leading cause of blindness globally. Topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, antibiotics and tissue transplantation are currently used to treat corneal pathological conditions. However, barrier properties of the ocular surface necessitate high concentration of the drugs applied in the eye repeatedly. This often results in poor efficacy and several side-effects. Nanoparticle-based molecular medicine seeks to overcome these limitations by enhancing the permeability and pharmacological properties of the drugs. The promise of nanomedicine approaches for treating corneal defects and restoring vision without side effects in preclinical animal studies has been demonstrated. Numerous polymeric, metallic and hybrid nanoparticles capable of transporting genes into desired corneal cells to intercept pathologic pathways and processes leading to blindness have been identified. This review provides an overview of corneal diseases, nanovector properties and their applications in drug-delivery and corneal disease management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Corneal Disease and Biomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle
Using Magnetic Nanoparticles for Gene Transfer to Neural Stem Cells: Stem Cell Propagation Method Influences Outcomes
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 259-276; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020259 - 24 Apr 2015
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3402
Abstract
Genetically engineered neural stem cell (NSC) transplants offer a key strategy to augment neural repair by releasing therapeutic biomolecules into injury sites. Genetic modification of NSCs is heavily reliant on viral vectors but cytotoxic effects have prompted development of non-viral alternatives, such as [...] Read more.
Genetically engineered neural stem cell (NSC) transplants offer a key strategy to augment neural repair by releasing therapeutic biomolecules into injury sites. Genetic modification of NSCs is heavily reliant on viral vectors but cytotoxic effects have prompted development of non-viral alternatives, such as magnetic nanoparticle (MNPs). NSCs are propagated in laboratories as either 3-D suspension “neurospheres” or 2-D adherent “monolayers”. MNPs deployed with oscillating magnetic fields (“magnetofection technology”) mediate effective gene transfer to neurospheres but the efficacy of this approach for monolayers is unknown. It is important to address this issue as oscillating magnetic fields dramatically enhance MNP-based transfection in transplant cells (e.g., astrocytes and oligodendrocyte precursors) propagated as monolayers. We report for the first time that oscillating magnetic fields enhanced MNP-based transfection with reporter and functional (basic fibroblast growth factor; FGF2) genes in monolayer cultures yielding high transfection versus neurospheres. Transfected NSCs showed high viability and could re-form neurospheres, which is important as neurospheres yield higher post-transplantation viability versus monolayer cells. Our results demonstrate that the combination of oscillating magnetic fields and a monolayer format yields the highest efficacy for MNP-mediated gene transfer to NSCs, offering a viable non-viral alternative for genetic modification of this important neural cell transplant population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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Open AccessArticle
Differential Cell Adhesion of Breast Cancer Stem Cells on Biomaterial Substrate with Nanotopographical Cues
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 241-258; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020241 - 21 Apr 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2722
Abstract
Cancer stem cells are speculated to have the capability of self-renewal and re-establishment of tumor heterogeneity, possibly involved in the potential relapse of cancer. CD44+CD24−/lowESA+ cells have been reported to possess tumorigenic properties, and these biomarkers are thought [...] Read more.
Cancer stem cells are speculated to have the capability of self-renewal and re-establishment of tumor heterogeneity, possibly involved in the potential relapse of cancer. CD44+CD24−/lowESA+ cells have been reported to possess tumorigenic properties, and these biomarkers are thought to be highly expressed in breast cancer stem cells. Cell behavior can be influenced by biomolecular and topographical cues in the natural microenvironment. We hypothesized that different cell populations in breast cancer tissue exhibit different adhesion characteristics on substrates with nanotopography. Adhesion characterizations were performed using human mammary epithelial cells (HMEC), breast cancer cell line MCF7 and primary invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) cells obtained from patients’ samples, on micro- and nano-patterned poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) films. Topography demonstrated a significant effect on cell adhesion, and the effect was cell type dependent. Cells showed elongation morphology on gratings. The CD44+CD24−/lowESA+ subpopulation in MCF7 and IDC cells showed preferential adhesion on 350-nm gratings. Flow cytometry analysis showed that 350-nm gratings captured a significantly higher percentage of CD44+CD24 in MCF7. A slightly higher percentage of CD44+CD24−/lowESA+ was captured on the 350-nm gratings, although no significant difference was observed in the CD44+CD24ESA+ in IDC cells across patterns. Taken together, the study demonstrated that the cancer stem cell subpopulation could be enriched using different nanopatterns. The enriched population could subsequently aid in the isolation and characterization of cancer stem cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Nanomaterials for Functional Tissue Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Fibroblastic Transformation of Corneal Keratocytes by Rac Inhibition is Modulated by Extracellular Matrix Structure and Stiffness
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 222-240; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020222 - 14 Apr 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2661
Abstract
The goal of this study was to investigate how alterations in extracellular matrix (ECM) biophysical properties modulate corneal keratocyte phenotypes in response to specific wound healing cytokines and Rho GTPases. Rabbit corneal keratocytes were plated within standard collagen matrices (2.5 mg/mL) or compressed [...] Read more.
The goal of this study was to investigate how alterations in extracellular matrix (ECM) biophysical properties modulate corneal keratocyte phenotypes in response to specific wound healing cytokines and Rho GTPases. Rabbit corneal keratocytes were plated within standard collagen matrices (2.5 mg/mL) or compressed collagen matrices (~100 mg/mL) and cultured in serum-free media, PDGF BB, IGF, FGF2 or TGFβ1, with or without the Rac1 inhibitor NSC23766 and/or the Rho kinase inhibitor Y-27632. After 1 to 4 days, cells were labeled for F-actin and imaged using confocal microscopy. Keratocytes within standard collagen matrices (which are highly compliant) maintained a dendritic phenotype following culture in serum-free media, PDGF, IGF and FGF, but developed stress fibers in TGFβ1. Keratocytes within compressed collagen (which has high stiffness and low porosity) maintained a dendritic phenotype following culture in serum-free media, PDGF and IGF, but developed stress fibers in both FGF and TGFβ1. The Rac inhibitor had no significant impact on growth factor responses in compliant matrices. Within compressed collagen matrices however, the Rac inhibitor induced fibroblastic transformation in serum-free media, PDGF and IGF. Fibroblast and myofibroblast transformation was blocked by Rho kinase inhibition. Overall, keratocyte growth factor responses appear to be regulated by both the interplay between Rho and Rac signaling, and the structural and mechanical properties of the ECM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Corneal Disease and Biomaterials)
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Open AccessReview
Medical Smart Textiles Based on Fiber Optic Technology: An Overview
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 204-221; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020204 - 13 Apr 2015
Cited by 54 | Viewed by 3710
Abstract
The growing interest in the development of smart textiles for medical applications is driven by the aim to increase the mobility of patients who need a continuous monitoring of such physiological parameters. At the same time, the use of fiber optic sensors (FOSs) [...] Read more.
The growing interest in the development of smart textiles for medical applications is driven by the aim to increase the mobility of patients who need a continuous monitoring of such physiological parameters. At the same time, the use of fiber optic sensors (FOSs) is gaining large acceptance as an alternative to traditional electrical and mechanical sensors for the monitoring of thermal and mechanical parameters. The potential impact of FOSs is related to their good metrological properties, their small size and their flexibility, as well as to their immunity from electromagnetic field. Their main advantage is the possibility to use textile based on fiber optic in a magnetic resonance imaging environment, where standard electronic sensors cannot be employed. This last feature makes FOSs suitable for monitoring biological parameters (e.g., respiratory and heartbeat monitoring) during magnetic resonance procedures. Research interest in combining FOSs and textiles into a single structure to develop wearable sensors is rapidly growing. In this review we provide an overview of the state-of-the-art of textiles, which use FOSs for monitoring of mechanical parameters of physiological interest. In particular we briefly describe the working principle of FOSs employed in this field and their relevant advantages and disadvantages. Also reviewed are their applications for the monitoring of mechanical parameters of physiological interest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical Textiles)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Thermosensitive Hydrogels of Chitosan, Sodium and Magnesium Glycerophosphate for Bone Regeneration Applications
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 192-203; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020192 - 09 Apr 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2755
Abstract
Thermosensitive injectable hydrogels based on chitosan neutralized with sodium beta-glycerophosphate (Na-β-GP) have been studied as biomaterials for drug delivery and tissue regeneration. Magnesium (Mg) has been reported to stimulate adhesion and proliferation of bone forming cells. With the aim of improving the suitability [...] Read more.
Thermosensitive injectable hydrogels based on chitosan neutralized with sodium beta-glycerophosphate (Na-β-GP) have been studied as biomaterials for drug delivery and tissue regeneration. Magnesium (Mg) has been reported to stimulate adhesion and proliferation of bone forming cells. With the aim of improving the suitability of the aforementioned chitosan hydrogels as materials for bone regeneration, Mg was incorporated by partial substitution of Na-β-GP with magnesium glycerophosphate (Mg-GP). Chitosan/Na-β-GP and chitosan/Na-β-GP/Mg-GP hydrogels were also loaded with the enzyme alkaline phosphatase (ALP) which induces hydrogel mineralization. Hydrogels were characterized physicochemically with respect to mineralizability and gelation kinetics, and biologically with respect to cytocompatibility and cell adhesion. Substitution of Na-β-GP with Mg-GP did not negatively influence mineralizability. Cell biological testing showed that both chitosan/Na-β-GP and chitosan/Na-β-GP/Mg-GP hydrogels were cytocompatible towards MG63 osteoblast-like cells. Hence, chitosan/Na-β-GP/Mg-GP hydrogels can be used as an alternative to chitosan/Na-β-GP hydrogels for bone regeneration applications. However the incorporation of Mg in the hydrogels during hydrogel formation did not bring any appreciable physicochemical or biological benefit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Applications of Chitin and Chitosan)
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Open AccessArticle
Carbohydrate-Derived Amphiphilic Macromolecules: A Biophysical Structural Characterization and Analysis of Binding Behaviors to Model Membranes
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 171-191; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020171 - 08 Apr 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2775
Abstract
The design and synthesis of enhanced membrane-intercalating biomaterials for drug delivery or vascular membrane targeting is currently challenged by the lack of screening and prediction tools. The present work demonstrates the generation of a Quantitative Structural Activity Relationship model (QSAR) to make a [...] Read more.
The design and synthesis of enhanced membrane-intercalating biomaterials for drug delivery or vascular membrane targeting is currently challenged by the lack of screening and prediction tools. The present work demonstrates the generation of a Quantitative Structural Activity Relationship model (QSAR) to make a priori predictions. Amphiphilic macromolecules (AMs) “stealth lipids” built on aldaric and uronic acids frameworks attached to poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) polymer tails were developed to form self-assembling micelles. In the present study, a defined set of novel AM structures were investigated in terms of their binding to lipid membrane bilayers using Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation (QCM-D) experiments coupled with computational coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CG MD) and all-atom MD (AA MD) simulations. The CG MD simulations capture the insertion dynamics of the AM lipophilic backbones into the lipid bilayer with the PEGylated tail directed into bulk water. QCM-D measurements with Voigt viscoelastic model analysis enabled the quantitation of the mass gain and rate of interaction between the AM and the lipid bilayer surface. Thus, this study yielded insights about variations in the functional activity of AM materials with minute compositional or stereochemical differences based on membrane binding, which has translational potential for transplanting these materials in vivo. More broadly, it demonstrates an integrated computational-experimental approach, which can offer a promising strategy for the in silico design and screening of therapeutic candidate materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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Open AccessArticle
Fabrication and Characterization of Nanoporous Niobia, and Nanotubular Tantala, Titania and Zirconia via Anodization
J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(2), 153-170; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb6020153 - 31 Mar 2015
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2747
Abstract
Valve metals such as titanium (Ti), zirconium (Zr), niobium (Nb) and tantalum (Ta) that confer a stable oxide layer on their surfaces are commonly used as implant materials or alloying elements for titanium-based implants, due to their exceptional high corrosion resistance and excellent [...] Read more.
Valve metals such as titanium (Ti), zirconium (Zr), niobium (Nb) and tantalum (Ta) that confer a stable oxide layer on their surfaces are commonly used as implant materials or alloying elements for titanium-based implants, due to their exceptional high corrosion resistance and excellent biocompatibility. The aim of this study was to investigate the bioactivity of the nanostructures of tantala (Ta2O5), niobia (Nb2O5), zirconia (ZrO2) and titania (TiO2) in accordance to their roughness and wettability. Therefore, four kinds of metal oxide nanoporous and nanotubular Ta2O5, Nb2O5, ZrO2 and TiO2 were fabricated via anodization. The nanosize distribution, morphology and the physical and chemical properties of the nanolayers and their surface energies and bioactivities were investigated using SEM-EDS, X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis and 3D profilometer. It was found that the nanoporous Ta2O5 exhibited an irregular porous structure, high roughness and high surface energy as compared to bare tantalum metal; and exhibited the most superior bioactivity after annealing among the four kinds of nanoporous structures. The nanoporous Nb2O5 showed a uniform porous structure and low roughness, but no bioactivity before annealing. Overall, the nanoporous and nanotubular layers of Ta2O5, Nb2O5, ZrO2 and TiO2 demonstrated promising potential for enhanced bioactivity to improve their biomedical application alone or to improve the usage in other biocompatible metal implants. Full article
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