J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(3), 650-666; doi:10.3390/jfb6030650 (registering DOI) - published 31 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Uveitis is the third leading cause of blindness in developed countries. Currently, the most widely used treatment of non-infectious uveitis is corticosteroids. Posterior uveitis and macular edema can be treated with intraocular injection of corticosteroids, however, this is problematic in chronic cases because of the need for repeat injections. Another option is systemic immunosuppressive therapies that have their own undesirable side effects. These systemic therapies result in a widespread suppression of the entire immune system, leaving the patient susceptible to infection. Therefore, an effective localized treatment option is preferred. With the recent advances in bioengineering, biodegradable polymers that allow for a slow sustained-release of a medication. These advances have culminated in drug delivery implants that are food and drug administration (FDA) approved for the treatment of non-infectious uveitis. In this review, we discuss the types of ocular implants available and some of the polymers used, implants used for the treatment of non-infectious uveitis, and bioengineered alternatives that are on the horizon.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(3), 634-649; doi:10.3390/jfb6030634 (registering DOI) - published 30 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The lacrimal gland plays an important role in maintaining a homeostatic environment for healthy ocular surfaces via tear secretion. Dry eye disease, which is caused by lacrimal gland dysfunction, is one of the most prevalent eye disorders and causes ocular discomfort, significant visual disturbances, and a reduced quality of life. Current therapies for dry eye disease, including artificial tear eye drops, are transient and palliative. The lacrimal gland, which consists of acini, ducts, and myoepithelial cells, develops from its organ germ via reciprocal epithelial-mesenchymal interactions during embryogenesis. Lacrimal tissue stem cells have been identified for use in regenerative therapeutic approaches aimed at restoring lacrimal gland functions. Fully functional organ replacement, such as for tooth and hair follicles, has also been developed via a novel three-dimensional stem cell manipulation, designated the Organ Germ Method, as a next-generation regenerative medicine. Recently, we successfully developed fully functional bioengineered lacrimal gland replacements after transplanting a bioengineered organ germ using this method. This study represented a significant advance in potential lacrimal gland organ replacement as a novel regenerative therapy for dry eye disease. In this review, we will summarize recent progress in lacrimal regeneration research and the development of bioengineered lacrimal gland organ replacement therapy.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(3), 623-633; doi:10.3390/jfb6030623 - published 24 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The objective of this study was to investigate how the connection of superstructures to implants with different surface properties affects the surrounding bone. The right and left mandibular premolars and molars of 5 dogs were extracted. After 12 weeks, a machined implant was placed mesially and an anodized implant was placed distally on one side of the edentulous jaw, with the positions reversed on the opposite side. Twelve weeks after implantation, splinted superstructures were set to the implants. At 24 weeks after implantation, the implant stability quotient (ISQ) was measured, radiographs were obtained. Removal torque values were measured and histologic observation was performed. The ISQ values at 24 weeks after implantation were not significantly different between the groups. The removal torque values were significantly different between the distal anodized and distal machined implants (p < 0.05). From 12 to 24 weeks, marginal bone losses were not significantly different between the groups. Fluorescent observation of tissue samples revealed bone-remodeling activity around all of the implants. The results of this study suggest that when implants with different surface properties are connected, machined implants at the most distal sites might be a potential risk factor for implant-bone binding.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(3), 598-622; doi:10.3390/jfb6030598 - published 16 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Adult or mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been found in different tissues in the body, residing in stem cell microenvironments called “stem cell niches”. They play different roles but their main activity is to maintain tissue homeostasis and repair throughout the lifetime of an organism. Their ability to differentiate into different cell types makes them an ideal tool to study tissue development and to use them in cell-based therapies. This differentiation process is subject to both internal and external forces at the nanoscale level and this response of stem cells to nanostimuli is the focus of this review.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(3), 585-597; doi:10.3390/jfb6030585 - published 14 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Computer-based simulations are nowadays widely exploited for the prediction of the mechanical behavior of different biomedical devices. In this aspect, structural finite element analyses (FEA) are currently the preferred computational tool to evaluate the stent response under bending. This work aims at developing a computational framework based on linear and higher order FEA to evaluate the flexibility of self-expandable carotid artery stents. In particular, numerical simulations involving large deformations and inelastic shape memory alloy constitutive modeling are performed, and the results suggest that the employment of higher order FEA allows accurately representing the computational domain and getting a better approximation of the solution with a widely-reduced number of degrees of freedom with respect to linear FEA. Moreover, when buckling phenomena occur, higher order FEA presents a superior capability of reproducing the nonlinear local effects related to buckling phenomena.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(3), 564-584; doi:10.3390/jfb6030564 - published 10 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Tubular scaffolds with aligned polylactic acid (PLA) fibres were fabricated for cell guide applications by immersing rolled PLA fibre mats into a polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) solution to bind the mats. The PVAc solution was also mixed with up to 30 wt % β-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) content. Cross-sectional images of the scaffold materials obtained via scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed the aligned fibre morphology along with a significant number of voids in between the bundles of fibres. The addition of β-TCP into the scaffolds played an important role in increasing the void content from 17.1% to 25.3% for the 30 wt % β-TCP loading, which was measured via micro-CT (µCT) analysis. Furthermore, µCT analyses revealed the distribution of aggregated β-TCP particles in between the various PLA fibre layers of the scaffold. The compressive modulus properties of the scaffolds increased from 66 MPa to 83 MPa and the compressive strength properties decreased from 67 MPa to 41 MPa for the 30 wt % β-TCP content scaffold. The scaffolds produced were observed to change into a soft and flexible form which demonstrated shape recovery properties after immersion in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) media at 37 °C for 24 h. The cytocompatibility studies (using MG-63 human osteosarcoma cell line) revealed preferential cell proliferation along the longitudinal direction of the fibres as compared to the control tissue culture plastic. The manufacturing process highlighted above reveals a simple process for inducing controlled cell alignment and varying porosity features within tubular scaffolds for potential tissue engineering applications.