J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(3), 526-546; doi:10.3390/jfb6030526 - published 30 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Stem cells play a special role in the body as agents of self-renewal and auto-reparation for tissues and organs. Stem cell therapies represent a promising alternative strategy to regenerate damaged tissue when natural repairing and conventional pharmacological intervention fail to do so. A fundamental impediment for the evolution of stem cell therapies has been the difficulty of effectively targeting administered stem cells to the disease foci. Biocompatible magnetically responsive nanoparticles are being utilized for the targeted delivery of stem cells in order to enhance their retention in the desired treatment site. This noninvasive treatment-localization strategy has shown promising results and has the potential to mitigate the problem of poor long-term stem cell engraftment in a number of organ systems post-delivery. In addition, these same nanoparticles can be used to track and monitor the cells in vivo, using magnetic resonance imaging. In the present review we underline the principles of magnetic targeting for stem cell delivery, with a look at the logic behind magnetic nanoparticle systems, their manufacturing and design variants, and their applications in various pathological models.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(3), 500-525; doi:10.3390/jfb6030500 - published 30 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Vascular implants belong to a specialised class of medical textiles. The basic purpose of a vascular implant (graft and stent) is to act as an artificial conduit or substitute for a diseased artery. However, the long-term healing function depends on its ability to mimic the mechanical and biological behaviour of the artery. This requires a thorough understanding of the structure and function of an artery, which can then be translated into a synthetic structure based on the capabilities of the manufacturing method utilised. Common textile manufacturing techniques, such as weaving, knitting, braiding, and electrospinning, are frequently used to design vascular implants for research and commercial purposes for the past decades. However, the ability to match attributes of a vascular substitute to those of a native artery still remains a challenge. The synthetic implants have been found to cause disturbance in biological, biomechanical, and hemodynamic parameters at the implant site, which has been widely attributed to their structural design. In this work, we reviewed the design aspect of textile vascular implants and compared them to the structure of a natural artery as a basis for assessing the level of success as an implant. The outcome of this work is expected to encourage future design strategies for developing improved long lasting vascular implants.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(3), 486-499; doi:10.3390/jfb6030486 - published 26 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Recent alarming joint registry data highlighting increased revision rates has prompted further research into the area of metal-on-metal hip replacements and resurfacings. This review article examines the latest literature on the topic of adverse reactions to metal debris and summarises the most up-to-date guidelines on patient management. Adverse reactions to metal debris can cause significant damage to soft tissue and bone if not diagnosed early. Furthermore, not every patient with an adverse reaction to metal debris will be symptomatic. As such, clinicians must remain vigilant when assessing and investigating these patients in order to detect failing implants and initiate appropriate management.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(2), 454-485; doi:10.3390/jfb6020454 - published 18 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
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 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.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(2), 439-453; doi:10.3390/jfb6020439 - published 18 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
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 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.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(2), 422-438; doi:10.3390/jfb6020422 - published 18 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
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 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.