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J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2010 Feb;4(2):83-95. doi: 10.1002/term.208.

Investigating the importance of flow when utilizing hyaluronan scaffolds for tissue engineering.

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UK Centre for Tissue Engineering, Division of Clinical Engineering, Duncan Building, Daulby Street, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GA, UK.


Esterified hyaluronan scaffolds offer significant advantages for tissue engineering. They are recognized by cellular receptors, interact with many other extracellular matrix proteins and their metabolism is mediated by intrinsic cellular pathways. In this study differences in the viability and structural integrity of vascular tissue models cultured on hyaluronan scaffolds under laminar flow conditions highlighted potential differences in the biodegradation kinetics, processes and end-products, depending on the culture environment. Critical factors are likely to include seeding densities and the duration and magnitude of applied biomechanical stress. Proteomic evaluation of the timing and amount of remodelling protein expression, the resulting biomechanical changes arising from this response and metabolic cell viability assay, together with examination of tissue morphology, were conducted in vascular tissue models cultured on esterified hyaluronan felt and PTFE mesh scaffolds. The vascular tissue models were derived using complete cell sheets derived from harvested and expanded umbilical cord vein cells. This seeding method utilizes high-density cell populations from the outset, while the cells are already supported by their own abundant extracellular matrix. Type I and type IV collagen expression in parallel with MMP-1 and MMP-2 expression were monitored in the tissue models over a 10 day culture period under laminar flow regimes using protein immobilization technologies. Uniaxial tensile testing and scanning electron microscopy were used to compare the resulting effects of hydrodynamic stimulation upon structural integrity, while viability assays were conducted to evaluate the effects of shear on metabolic function. The proteomic results showed that the hyaluronan felt-supported tissues expressed higher levels of all remodelling proteins than those cultured on PTFE mesh. Overall, a 21% greater expression of type I collagen, 24% higher levels of type IV collagen, 24% higher levels of MMP-1 and 34% more MMP-2 were observed during hydrodynamic stress. This was coupled with a loss of structural integrity in these models after the introduction of laminar flow, as compared to the increases in all mechanical properties observed in the PTFE mesh-supported tissues. However, under flow conditions, the hyaluronan-supported tissues showed some recovery of the viability originally lost during static culture conditions, in contrast to PTFE mesh-based models, where initial gains were followed by a decline in metabolic viability after applied shear stress. Proteomic, cell viability and mechanical testing data emphasized the need for extended in vitro evaluations to enable better understanding of multi-stage remodelling and reparative processes in tissues cultured on biodegradable scaffolds. This study also highlighted the possibility that in high-density tissue culture with a biodegradable component, dynamic conditions may be more conducive to optimal tissue development than the static environment because they facilitate the efficient removal of high concentrations of degradation end-products accumulating in the pericellular space.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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