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Acta Biomater. 2017 Dec;64:148-160. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2017.10.010. Epub 2017 Oct 7.

Modulating microfibrillar alignment and growth factor stimulation to regulate mesenchymal stem cell differentiation.

Author information

1
Trinity Centre for Bioengineering, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland; Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland.
2
Trinity Centre for Bioengineering, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland; Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland; Tissue Engineering Research Group, Department of Anatomy, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin 2, Ireland; Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research Centre (AMBER), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland. Electronic address: kellyd9@tcd.ie.

Abstract

The ideal tissue engineering (TE) strategy for ligament regeneration should recapitulate the bone - calcified cartilage - fibrocartilage - soft tissue interface. Aligned electrospun-fibers have been shown to guide the deposition of a highly organized extracellular matrix (ECM) necessary for ligament TE. However, recapitulating the different tissues observed in the bone-ligament interface using such constructs remains a challenge. This study aimed to explore how fiber alignment and growth factor stimulation interact to regulate the chondrogenic and ligamentous differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). To this end aligned and randomly-aligned electrospun microfibrillar scaffolds were seeded with bone marrow derived MSCs and stimulated with transforming growth factor β3 (TGFβ3) or connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), either individually or sequentially. Without growth factor stimulation, MSCs on aligned-microfibers showed higher levels of tenomodulin (TNMD) and aggrecan gene expression compared to MSCs on randomly-oriented fibers. MSCs on aligned-microfibers stimulated with TGFβ3 formed cellular aggregates and underwent robust chondrogenesis, evidenced by increased type II collagen expression and sulphated glycosaminoglycans (sGAG) synthesis compared to MSCs on randomly-oriented scaffolds. Bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) and type I collagen gene expression were higher on randomly-oriented scaffolds stimulated with TGFβ3, suggesting this substrate was more supportive of an endochondral phenotype. In the presence of CTGF, MSCs underwent ligamentous differentiation, with increased TNMD expression on aligned compared to randomly aligned scaffolds. Upon sequential growth factor stimulation, MSCs expressed types I and II collagen and deposited higher overall levels of collagen compared to scaffolds stimulated with either growth factor in isolation. These findings demonstrate that modulating the alignment of microfibrillar scaffolds can be used to promote either an endochondral, chondrogenic, fibrochondrogenic or ligamentous MSC phenotype upon presentation of appropriate biochemical cues.

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE:

Polymeric electrospun fibers can be tuned to match the fibrillar size and anisotropy of collagen fibers in ligaments, and can be mechanically competent. Therefore, their use is attractive when attempting to tissue engineer the bone-ligament interface. A central challenge in this field is recapitulating the cellular phenotypes observed across the bone-ligament interface. Here we demonstrated that it is possible to direct MSCs seeded onto aligned electrospun fibres towards either a ligamentogenic, chondrogenic or fibrochondrogenic phenotype upon presentation of appropriate biochemical cues. This opens the possibility of using aligned microfibrillar scaffolds that are spatially functionalized with specific growth factors to direct MSC differentiation for engineering the bone-ligament interface.

KEYWORDS:

Chondrogenesis; Electrospinning; Growth factors; Mesenchymal stem cells

PMID:
29017973
DOI:
10.1016/j.actbio.2017.10.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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