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Bioengineering, Volume 8, Issue 10 (October 2021) – 17 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The generation of a good-quality digital anatomical model of the heart is a complex task. Its 3D representation, however, has the potential to provide detailed spatial information concerning the heart’s structure, also offering new opportunities if combined with additive manufacturing. In this work, we illustrate the difficulties that may be encountered in the workflow from a stack of computed tomography (CT) to the handheld printed heart model, which also considers real wall thickness variability. Stereolithography printing technology is exploited, and the accuracy of the result evaluated. View this paper
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Review
Metal Oxide Nanoparticles and Nanotubes: Ultrasmall Nanostructures to Engineer Antibacterial and Improved Dental Adhesives and Composites
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100146 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 198
Abstract
Advances in nanotechnology have unlocked exclusive and relevant capabilities that are being applied to develop new dental restorative materials. Metal oxide nanoparticles and nanotubes perform functions relevant to a range of dental purposes beyond the traditional role of filler reinforcement—they can release ions [...] Read more.
Advances in nanotechnology have unlocked exclusive and relevant capabilities that are being applied to develop new dental restorative materials. Metal oxide nanoparticles and nanotubes perform functions relevant to a range of dental purposes beyond the traditional role of filler reinforcement—they can release ions from their inorganic compounds damaging oral pathogens, deliver calcium phosphate compounds, provide contrast during imaging, protect dental tissues during a bacterial acid attack, and improve the mineral content of the bonding interface. These capabilities make metal oxide nanoparticles and nanotubes useful for dental adhesives and composites, as these materials are the most used restorative materials in daily dental practice for tooth restorations. Secondary caries and material fractures have been recognized as the most common routes for the failure of composite restorations and bonding interface in the clinical setting. This review covers the significant capabilities of metal oxide nanoparticles and nanotubes incorporated into dental adhesives and composites, focusing on the novel benefits of antibacterial properties and how they relate to their translational applications in restorative dentistry. We pay close attention to how the development of contemporary antibacterial dental materials requires extensive interdisciplinary collaboration to accomplish particular and complex biological tasks to tackle secondary caries. We complement our discussion of dental adhesives and composites containing metal oxide nanoparticles and nanotubes with considerations needed for clinical application. We anticipate that readers will gain a complete picture of the expansive possibilities of using metal oxide nanoparticles and nanotubes to develop new dental materials and inspire further interdisciplinary development in this area. Full article
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Article
Viscoelastic Characterization of Parasagittal Bridging Veins and Implications for Traumatic Brain Injury: A Pilot Study
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100145 - 18 Oct 2021
Viewed by 166
Abstract
Many previous studies on the mechanical properties of Parasagittal Bridging Veins (PSBVs) found that strain rate had a significant effect on some mechanical properties, but did not extensively study the viscoelastic effects, which are difficult to detect with uniaxial simple tensile tests. In [...] Read more.
Many previous studies on the mechanical properties of Parasagittal Bridging Veins (PSBVs) found that strain rate had a significant effect on some mechanical properties, but did not extensively study the viscoelastic effects, which are difficult to detect with uniaxial simple tensile tests. In this study, relaxation tests and tests under cyclic loading were performed, and it was found that PSBVs do indeed exhibit clear viscoelastic effects. In addition, a complete viscoelastic model for the PSBVs is proposed and data from relaxation, cyclic load and load-unload tests for triangular loads are used to find reference values that characterize the viscoelastic behavior of the PSBVs. Although such models have been proposed for other types of blood vessels, this is the first study that clearly demonstrates the existence of viscoelastic effects from an experimental point of view and also proposes a specific model to explain the data obtained. Finally, this study provides reference values for the usual viscoelastic properties, which would allow more accurate numerical simulation of PSBVs by means of computational models. Full article
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Review
Translational Application of 3D Bioprinting for Cartilage Tissue Engineering
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100144 - 18 Oct 2021
Viewed by 254
Abstract
Cartilage is an avascular tissue with extremely limited self-regeneration capabilities. At present, there are no existing treatments that effectively stop the deterioration of cartilage or reverse its effects; current treatments merely relieve its symptoms and surgical intervention is required when the condition aggravates. [...] Read more.
Cartilage is an avascular tissue with extremely limited self-regeneration capabilities. At present, there are no existing treatments that effectively stop the deterioration of cartilage or reverse its effects; current treatments merely relieve its symptoms and surgical intervention is required when the condition aggravates. Thus, cartilage damage remains an ongoing challenge in orthopaedics with an urgent need for improved treatment options. In recent years, major advances have been made in the development of three-dimensional (3D) bioprinted constructs for cartilage repair applications. 3D bioprinting is an evolutionary additive manufacturing technique that enables the precisely controlled deposition of a combination of biomaterials, cells, and bioactive molecules, collectively known as bioink, layer-by-layer to produce constructs that simulate the structure and function of native cartilage tissue. This review provides an insight into the current developments in 3D bioprinting for cartilage tissue engineering. The bioink and construct properties required for successful application in cartilage repair applications are highlighted. Furthermore, the potential for translation of 3D bioprinted constructs to the clinic is discussed. Overall, 3D bioprinting demonstrates great potential as a novel technique for the fabrication of tissue engineered constructs for cartilage regeneration, with distinct advantages over conventional techniques. Full article
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Article
Hemodynamic Investigation of the Effectiveness of a Two Overlapping Flow Diverter Configuration for Cerebral Aneurysm Treatment
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100143 (registering DOI) - 16 Oct 2021
Viewed by 176
Abstract
Flow diverters (FDs) are widely employed as endovascular treatment devices for large or wide-neck cerebral aneurysms. Occasionally, overlapped FDs are deployed to enhance the flow diversion effect. In this study, we investigated the hemodynamics of overlapping FDs via computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. [...] Read more.
Flow diverters (FDs) are widely employed as endovascular treatment devices for large or wide-neck cerebral aneurysms. Occasionally, overlapped FDs are deployed to enhance the flow diversion effect. In this study, we investigated the hemodynamics of overlapping FDs via computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. We reproduced the arterial geometry of a patient who had experienced the deployment of two overlapping FDs. We utilized two stent patterns, namely the patterns for one FD and two overlapping FDs. We calculated the velocity, mass flow rate, wall shear stress, and pressure loss coefficient as well as their change rates for each pattern relative to the no-FD pattern results. The CFD simulation results indicated that the characteristics of the blood flow inside the aneurysm were minimally affected by the deployment of a single FD; in contrast, the overlapping FD pattern results revealed significant changes in the flow. Further, the velocity at an inspection plane within the aneurysm sac decreased by up to 92.2% and 31.0% in the cases of the overlapping and single FD patterns, respectively, relative to the no-FD pattern. The simulations successfully reproduced the hemodynamics, and the qualitative and quantitative investigations are meaningful with regard to the clinical outcomes of overlapped FD deployment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Fluid Dynamics in Medicine and Biology)
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Article
Bioprocess Optimization for the Production of Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis Biomass Enriched in the Enzyme Alkaline Phosphatase
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100142 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 87
Abstract
The enzyme alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is gaining interest because it exerts bioactive properties and may be a potentially important therapeutic agent for many disorders and diseases. Microalgae are considered an important novel source for the production of diverse bio-compounds and are gaining momentum [...] Read more.
The enzyme alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is gaining interest because it exerts bioactive properties and may be a potentially important therapeutic agent for many disorders and diseases. Microalgae are considered an important novel source for the production of diverse bio-compounds and are gaining momentum as functional foods/feeds supplements. So far, studies for the production of ALP are limited to mammalian and partly to some heterotrophic microbial sources after its extraction and/or purification. Methods: Arthrospira was cultivated under P-limitation bioprocess and the effect of the P-limitation degree on the ALP enrichment was studied. The aim of this work was to optimize the cultivation of the edible and generally-recognized-as-safe (GRAS) cyanobacterium Arthrospira platensis for the production of single-cell (SC) biomass enriched in ALP as a potential novel functional diet supplement. Results: The results revealed that the relationship between intracellular-P and single-cell alkaline phosphatase (SC-ALP) activity was inverse; SC-ALP activity was the highest (around 50 U g−1) when intracellular-P was the lowest possible (around 1.7 mg-P g−1) and decreased gradually as P availability increased reaching around 0.5 U g−1 in the control cultures. Under the strongest P-limited conditions, a more than 100-fold increase in SC-ALP activity was obtained; however, protein content of A. platensis decreased significantly (around 22–23% from 58%). Under a moderate P-limitation degree (at intracellular-P of 3.6 mg-P g−1), there was a relatively high SC-ALP activity (>28 U g−1) while simultaneously, a relative high protein content (46%) was attained, which reflects the possibility to produce A. platensis enriched in ALP retaining though its nutritional value as a protein rich biomass source. The paper presents also results on how several parameters of the ALP activity assay, such as pH, temperature etc., and post-harvest treatment (hydrothermal treatment and biomass drying), influence the SC-ALP activity. Full article
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Article
Biotechnological Conversion of Grape Pomace to Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) by Moderately Thermophilic Bacterium Tepidimonas taiwanensis
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100141 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 174
Abstract
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are microbial polyesters that have recently come to the forefront of interest due to their biodegradability and production from renewable sources. A potential increase in competitiveness of PHA production process comes with a combination of the use of thermophilic bacteria with [...] Read more.
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are microbial polyesters that have recently come to the forefront of interest due to their biodegradability and production from renewable sources. A potential increase in competitiveness of PHA production process comes with a combination of the use of thermophilic bacteria with the mutual use of waste substrates. In this work, the thermophilic bacterium Tepidimonas taiwanensis LMG 22826 was identified as a promising PHA producer. The ability to produce PHA in T. taiwanensis was studied both on genotype and phenotype levels. The gene encoding the Class I PHA synthase, a crucial enzyme in PHA synthesis, was detected both by genome database search and by PCR. The microbial culture of T. taiwanensis was capable of efficient utilization of glucose and fructose. When cultivated on glucose as the only carbon source at 50 °C, the PHA titers reached up to 3.55 g/L, and PHA content in cell dry mass was 65%. The preference of fructose and glucose opens the possibility to employ T. taiwanensis for PHA production on various food wastes rich in these abundant sugars. In this work, PHA production on grape pomace extracts was successfully tested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) Production, Volume 3)
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Article
Echogenic Advantages of Ferrogels Filled with Magnetic Sub-Microparticles
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100140 - 11 Oct 2021
Viewed by 274
Abstract
Ultrasonic imaging of ferrogels (FGs) filled with magnetic nanoparticles does not reflect the inner structure of FGs due to the small size of particles. To determine whether larger particle size would improve the acoustic properties of FGs, biocompatible hydrogels filled with 100–400 nm [...] Read more.
Ultrasonic imaging of ferrogels (FGs) filled with magnetic nanoparticles does not reflect the inner structure of FGs due to the small size of particles. To determine whether larger particle size would improve the acoustic properties of FGs, biocompatible hydrogels filled with 100–400 nm iron oxide magnetic sub-microparticles with weight fraction up to 23.3% were synthesized and studied. Polymeric networks of synthesized FGs were comprised of chemically cross-linked polyacrylamide with interpenetrating physical network of natural polysaccharide—Guar or Xanthan. Cylindrical samples approximately 10 mm in height and 13 mm in diameter were immersed in a water bath and examined using medical ultrasound (8.5 MHz). The acoustic properties of FGs were characterized by the intensity of reflected echo signal. It was found that the echogenicity of sub-microparticles provides visualization not only of the outer geometry of the gel sample but of its inner structure as well. In particular, the echogenicity of FGs interior depended on the concentration of magnetic particles in the FGs network. The ultrasound monitoring of the shape, dimensions, and inner structure of FGs in the applied external magnetic field is demonstrated. It is especially valuable for the application of FGs in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Magnetic Micronanotechnologies for Bioengineering Applications)
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Review
Bioengineering of Extracellular Vesicles: Exosome-Based Next-Generation Therapeutic Strategy in Cancer
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100139 - 10 Oct 2021
Viewed by 317
Abstract
Extracellular nano vesicles and exosomes hold compelling evidence in intercellular communication. Exosomal intracellular signal transduction is mediated by the transfer of cargo proteins, lipids, micro (mi)RNAs, long noncoding (lnc)RNAs, small interfering (si)RNAs, DNA, and other functional molecules that play a pivotal role in [...] Read more.
Extracellular nano vesicles and exosomes hold compelling evidence in intercellular communication. Exosomal intracellular signal transduction is mediated by the transfer of cargo proteins, lipids, micro (mi)RNAs, long noncoding (lnc)RNAs, small interfering (si)RNAs, DNA, and other functional molecules that play a pivotal role in regulating tumor growth and metastasis. However, emerging research trends indicate that exosomes may be used as a promising tool in anticancer treatment. This review features a majority of the bioengineering applications of fabricated exosomal cargoes. It also encompasses how the manipulation and delivery of specific cargoes—noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), recombinant proteins, immune-modulators, chemotherapeutic drugs, and other small molecules—may serve as a precise therapeutic approach in cancer management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extracellular Vesicles: From Biology to Biomedical Application)
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Article
Extracting Features from Poincaré Plots to Distinguish Congestive Heart Failure Patients According to NYHA Classes
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100138 - 03 Oct 2021
Viewed by 329
Abstract
Heart-rate variability has proved a valid tool in prognosis definition of patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). Previous research has documented Poincaré plot analysis as a valuable approach to study heart-rate variability performance among different subjects. In this paper, we explored the possibility [...] Read more.
Heart-rate variability has proved a valid tool in prognosis definition of patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). Previous research has documented Poincaré plot analysis as a valuable approach to study heart-rate variability performance among different subjects. In this paper, we explored the possibility to feed machine-learning (ML) algorithms using unconventional quantitative parameters extracted from Poincaré plots (generated from 24-h electrocardiogram recordings) to classify patients with CHF belonging to different New York Heart Association (NYHA) classes. We performed in sequence the following investigations: first, a statistical analysis was carried out on 9 morphological parameters, automatically measured from Poincaré plots. Subsequently, a feature selection through a wrapper with a 10-fold cross-validation method was performed to find the best subset of features which maximized the classification accuracy for each considered ML algorithm. Finally, patient classification was assessed through a ML analysis using AdaBoost of Decision Tree, k-Nearest Neighbors and Naive Bayes algorithms. A univariate statistical analysis proved 5 out of 9 parameters presented statistically significant differences among patients of distinct NYHA classes; similarly, a multivariate logistic regression confirmed the importance of the parameter ρy in the separability between low-risk and high-risk classes. The ML analysis achieved promising results in terms of evaluation metrics (especially the Naive Bayes algorithm), with accuracies greater than 80% and Area Under the Receiver Operating Curve indices greater than 0.7 for the overall three algorithms. The study indicates the proposed features have a predictive power to discriminate the NYHA classes, to which the features seem evenly correlated. Despite the NYHA classification being subjective and easily recognized by cardiologists, the potential relevance in the clinical cardiology of the proposed features and the promising ML results implies the methodology could be a valuable approach to automatically classify CHF. Future investigations on enriched datasets may further confirm the presented evidence. Full article
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Review
Bioactive Scaffolds Integrated with Liposomal or Extracellular Vesicles for Bone Regeneration
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100137 - 01 Oct 2021
Viewed by 346
Abstract
With population aging and increased life expectancy, an increasing number of people are facing musculoskeletal health problems that necessitate therapeutic intervention at defect sites. Bone tissue engineering (BTE) has become a promising approach for bone graft substitutes as traditional treatments using autografts or [...] Read more.
With population aging and increased life expectancy, an increasing number of people are facing musculoskeletal health problems that necessitate therapeutic intervention at defect sites. Bone tissue engineering (BTE) has become a promising approach for bone graft substitutes as traditional treatments using autografts or allografts involve clinical complications. Significant advancements have been made in developing ideal BTE scaffolds that can integrate bioactive molecules promoting robust bone repair. Herein, we review bioactive scaffolds tuned for local bone regenerative therapy, particularly through integrating synthetic liposomal vesicles or extracellular vesicles to the scaffolds. Liposomes offer an excellent drug delivery system providing sustained release of the loaded bioactive molecules. Extracellular vesicles, with their inherent capacity to carry bioactive molecules, are emerging as an advanced substitute of synthetic nanoparticles and a novel cell-free therapy for bone regeneration. We discuss the recent advance in the use of synthetic liposomes and extracellular vesicles as bioactive materials combined with scaffolds, highlighting major challenges and opportunities for their applications in bone regeneration. We put a particular focus on strategies to integrate vesicles to various biomaterial scaffolds and introduce the latest advances in achieving sustained release of bioactive molecules from the vesicle-loaded scaffolds at the bone defect site. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Scaffolds for Musculoskeletal Regeneration)
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Article
A Novel Screw Drive for Allogenic Headless Position Screws for Use in Osteosynthesis—A Finite-Element Analysis
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100136 - 01 Oct 2021
Viewed by 352
Abstract
Due to their osteoconductive properties, allogenic bone screws made of human cortical bone have advantages regarding rehabilitation compared to other materials such as stainless steel or titanium. Since conventional screw drives like hexagonal or hexalobular drives are difficult to manufacture in headless allogenic [...] Read more.
Due to their osteoconductive properties, allogenic bone screws made of human cortical bone have advantages regarding rehabilitation compared to other materials such as stainless steel or titanium. Since conventional screw drives like hexagonal or hexalobular drives are difficult to manufacture in headless allogenic screws, an easy-to-manufacture screw drive is needed. In this paper, we present a simple drive for headless allogenic bone screws that allows the screw to be fully inserted. Since the screw drive is completely internal, no threads are removed. In order to prove the mechanical strength, we performed simulations of the new drive using the Finite-Element method (FEM), validated the simulations with a prototype screw, tested the novel screw drive experimentally and compared the simulations with conventional drives. The validation with the prototype showed that our simulations provided valid results. Furthermore, the simulations of the new screw drive showed good performance in terms of mechanical strength in allogenic screws compared to conventional screw drives. The presented screw drive is simple and easy to manufacture and is therefore suitable for headless allogenic bone screws where conventional drives are difficult to manufacture. Full article
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Review
Biofabrication of Artificial Stem Cell Niches in the Anterior Ocular Segment
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100135 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 290
Abstract
The anterior segment of the eye is a complex set of structures that collectively act to maintain the integrity of the globe and direct light towards the posteriorly located retina. The eye is exposed to numerous physical and environmental insults such as infection, [...] Read more.
The anterior segment of the eye is a complex set of structures that collectively act to maintain the integrity of the globe and direct light towards the posteriorly located retina. The eye is exposed to numerous physical and environmental insults such as infection, UV radiation, physical or chemical injuries. Loss of transparency to the cornea or lens (cataract) and dysfunctional regulation of intra ocular pressure (glaucoma) are leading causes of worldwide blindness. Whilst traditional therapeutic approaches can improve vision, their effect often fails to control the multiple pathological events that lead to long-term vision loss. Regenerative medicine approaches in the eye have already had success with ocular stem cell therapy and ex vivo production of cornea and conjunctival tissue for transplant recovering patients’ vision. However, advancements are required to increase the efficacy of these as well as develop other ocular cell therapies. One of the most important challenges that determines the success of regenerative approaches is the preservation of the stem cell properties during expansion culture in vitro. To achieve this, the environment must provide the physical, chemical and biological factors that ensure the maintenance of their undifferentiated state, as well as their proliferative capacity. This is likely to be accomplished by replicating the natural stem cell niche in vitro. Due to the complex nature of the cell microenvironment, the creation of such artificial niches requires the use of bioengineering techniques which can replicate the physico-chemical properties and the dynamic cell–extracellular matrix interactions that maintain the stem cell phenotype. This review discusses the progress made in the replication of stem cell niches from the anterior ocular segment by using bioengineering approaches and their therapeutic implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Fabrication of Artificial Stem Cell Microenvironments)
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Review
Advances in Magnetic Nanoparticles Engineering for Biomedical Applications—A Review
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100134 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 452
Abstract
Magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (MNPs) have been developed and applied for a broad range of biomedical applications, such as diagnostic imaging, magnetic fluid hyperthermia, targeted drug delivery, gene therapy and tissue repair. As one key element, reproducible synthesis routes of MNPs are capable [...] Read more.
Magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (MNPs) have been developed and applied for a broad range of biomedical applications, such as diagnostic imaging, magnetic fluid hyperthermia, targeted drug delivery, gene therapy and tissue repair. As one key element, reproducible synthesis routes of MNPs are capable of controlling and adjusting structure, size, shape and magnetic properties are mandatory. In this review, we discuss advanced methods for engineering and utilizing MNPs, such as continuous synthesis approaches using microtechnologies and the biosynthesis of magnetosomes, biotechnological synthesized iron oxide nanoparticles from bacteria. We compare the technologies and resulting MNPs with conventional synthetic routes. Prominent biomedical applications of the MNPs such as diagnostic imaging, magnetic fluid hyperthermia, targeted drug delivery and magnetic actuation in micro/nanorobots will be presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Magnetic Micronanotechnologies for Bioengineering Applications)
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Review
Recent Advancements in 3D Printing and Bioprinting Methods for Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100133 - 27 Sep 2021
Viewed by 435
Abstract
Recent decades have seen a plethora of regenerating new tissues in order to treat a multitude of cardiovascular diseases. Autografts, xenografts and bioengineered extracellular matrices have been employed in this endeavor. However, current limitations of xenografts and exogenous scaffolds to acquire sustainable cell [...] Read more.
Recent decades have seen a plethora of regenerating new tissues in order to treat a multitude of cardiovascular diseases. Autografts, xenografts and bioengineered extracellular matrices have been employed in this endeavor. However, current limitations of xenografts and exogenous scaffolds to acquire sustainable cell viability, anti-inflammatory and non-cytotoxic effects with anti-thrombogenic properties underline the requirement for alternative bioengineered scaffolds. Herein, we sought to encompass the methods of biofabricated scaffolds via 3D printing and bioprinting, the biomaterials and bioinks recruited to create biomimicked tissues of cardiac valves and vascular networks. Experimental and computational designing approaches have also been included. Moreover, the in vivo applications of the latest studies on the treatment of cardiovascular diseases have been compiled and rigorously discussed. Full article
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Article
Human Peripheral Nerve-Derived Pluripotent Cells Can Be Stimulated by In Vitro Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100132 - 26 Sep 2021
Viewed by 508
Abstract
We have recently identified a population of cells within the peripheral nerves of adult rodent animals (mice and rats) that can respond to Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 (BMP-2) exposure or physical injury to rapidly proliferate. More importantly, these cells exhibited embryonic differentiation potentials that [...] Read more.
We have recently identified a population of cells within the peripheral nerves of adult rodent animals (mice and rats) that can respond to Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 (BMP-2) exposure or physical injury to rapidly proliferate. More importantly, these cells exhibited embryonic differentiation potentials that could be induced into osteoblastic and endothelial cells in vitro. The current study examined human nerve specimens to compare and characterize the cells after BMP-2 stimulation. Fresh pieces of human nerve tissue were minced and treated with either BMP-2 (750 ng/mL) or a PBS vehicle for 12 h at 37 °C, before being digested in 0.2% collagenase and 0.05% trypsin-EDTA. Isolated cells were cultured in a restrictive stem cell medium. Significantly more cells were obtained from the nerve pieces with the BMP-2 treatment in comparison with the PBS vehicle controls. Cell colonies started to form at Day 3. Expressions of the four transcription factors, namely, Klf4, c-Myc, Sox2, and Oct4, were confirmed at both the transcriptional and translational levels. The cells can be maintained in the stem cell culture medium for at least 6 weeks without changing their morphology. When the cells were transferred to a fibroblast growth medium, dispersed spindle-shaped motile cells were noted and became fibroblast activated protein-α (FAP) positive with immunocytochemistry staining. The data suggest that human peripheral nerve tissue also contains a population of cells that can respond to BMP-2 and express Klf4, Sox2, cMyc, and Oct4—the four transcription factors driving cell pluripotency. These cells are able to differentiate into FAP-positive fibroblasts. In summary, in human peripheral nerves also reside a population of quiescent cells with pluripotency potential that may be the same cells as rodent nerve-derived adult stem (NEDAPS) cells. It is proposed that these cells are possibly at the core of a previously unknown natural mechanism for healing an injury. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Material and Engineering-Based Approaches for Organoids)
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Article
In Situ Visualization for 3D Ultrasound-Guided Interventions with Augmented Reality Headset
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100131 - 25 Sep 2021
Viewed by 423
Abstract
Augmented Reality (AR) headsets have become the most ergonomic and efficient visualization devices to support complex manual tasks performed under direct vision. Their ability to provide hands-free interaction with the augmented scene makes them perfect for manual procedures such as surgery. This study [...] Read more.
Augmented Reality (AR) headsets have become the most ergonomic and efficient visualization devices to support complex manual tasks performed under direct vision. Their ability to provide hands-free interaction with the augmented scene makes them perfect for manual procedures such as surgery. This study demonstrates the reliability of an AR head-mounted display (HMD), conceived for surgical guidance, in navigating in-depth high-precision manual tasks guided by a 3D ultrasound imaging system. The integration between the AR visualization system and the ultrasound imaging system provides the surgeon with real-time intra-operative information on unexposed soft tissues that are spatially registered with the surrounding anatomic structures. The efficacy of the AR guiding system was quantitatively assessed with an in vitro study simulating a biopsy intervention aimed at determining the level of accuracy achievable. In the experiments, 10 subjects were asked to perform the biopsy on four spherical lesions of decreasing sizes (10, 7, 5, and 3 mm). The experimental results showed that 80% of the subjects were able to successfully perform the biopsy on the 5 mm lesion, with a 2.5 mm system accuracy. The results confirmed that the proposed integrated system can be used for navigation during in-depth high-precision manual tasks. Full article
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Article
Operative Workflow from CT to 3D Printing of the Heart: Opportunities and Challenges
Bioengineering 2021, 8(10), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering8100130 - 22 Sep 2021
Viewed by 470
Abstract
Medical images do not provide a natural visualization of 3D anatomical structures, while 3D digital models are able to solve this problem. Interesting applications based on these models can be found in the cardiovascular field. The generation of a good-quality anatomical model of [...] Read more.
Medical images do not provide a natural visualization of 3D anatomical structures, while 3D digital models are able to solve this problem. Interesting applications based on these models can be found in the cardiovascular field. The generation of a good-quality anatomical model of the heart is one of the most complex tasks in this context. Its 3D representation has the potential to provide detailed spatial information concerning the heart’s structure, also offering the opportunity for further investigations if combined with additive manufacturing. When investigated, the adaption of printed models turned out to be beneficial in complex surgical procedure planning, for training, education and medical communication. In this paper, we will illustrate the difficulties that may be encountered in the workflow from a stack of Computed Tomography (CT) to the hand-held printed heart model. An important goal will consist in the realization of a heart model that can take into account real wall thickness variability. Stereolithography printing technology will be exploited with a commercial rigid resin. A flexible material will be tested too, but results will not be so satisfactory. As a preliminary validation of this kind of approach, print accuracy will be evaluated by directly comparing 3D scanner acquisitions to the original Standard Tessellation Language (STL) files. Full article
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