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New Philadelphia, PA, United States

Mohanraj B.,Philadelphia University | Meloni G.R.,University of Pennsylvania | Mauck R.L.,Philadelphia University | Mauck R.L.,Translational Musculoskeletal Research Center | And 2 more authors.
Osteoarthritis and Cartilage | Year: 2014

Objective: A number of invitro models of post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) have been developed to study the effect of mechanical overload on the processes that regulate cartilage degeneration. While such frameworks are critical for the identification therapeutic targets, existing technologies are limited in their throughput capacity. Here, we validate a test platform for high-throughput mechanical injury incorporating engineered cartilage. Method: We utilized a high-throughput mechanical testing platform to apply injurious compression toengineered cartilage and determined their strain and strain rate dependent responses to injury. Next, we validated this response by applying the same injury conditions to cartilage explants. Finally, we conducted a pilot screen of putative PTOA therapeutic compounds. Results: Engineered cartilage response to injury was strain dependent, with a 2-fold increase in glycosaminoglycan (GAG) loss at 75% compared to 50% strain. Extensive cell death was observed adjacent to fissures, with membrane rupture corroborated by marked increases in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release. Testing of established PTOA therapeutics showed that pan-caspase inhibitor [Z-VAD-FMK (ZVF)] was effective at reducing cell death, while the amphiphilic polymer [Poloxamer 188 (P188)] and the free-radical scavenger [. N-Acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC)] reduced GAG loss as compared to injury alone. Conclusions: The injury response in this engineered cartilage model replicated key features of the response of cartilage explants, validating this system for application of physiologically relevant injurious compression. This study establishes a novel tool for the discovery of mechanisms governing cartilage injury, as well as a screening platform for the identification of new molecules for the treatment of PTOA. © 2014 Osteoarthritis Research Society International.


Lieberthal J.,University of Pennsylvania | Sambamurthy N.,University of Pennsylvania | Scanzello C.R.,University of Pennsylvania | Scanzello C.R.,Translational Musculoskeletal Research Center
Osteoarthritis and Cartilage | Year: 2015

Inflammation is a variable feature of osteoarthritis (OA), associated with joint symptoms and progression of disease. Signs of inflammation can be observed in joint fluids and tissues from patients with joint injuries at risk for development of post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA). Furthermore, inflammatory mechanisms are hypothesized to contribute to the risk of OA development and progression after injury. Animal models of PTOA have been instrumental in understanding factors and mechanisms involved in chronic progressive cartilage degradation observed after a predisposing injury. Specific aspects of inflammation observed in humans, including cytokine and chemokine production, synovial reaction, cellular infiltration and inflammatory pathway activation, are also observed in models of PTOA. Many of these models are now being utilized to understand the impact of post-injury inflammatory response on PTOA development and progression, including risk of progressive cartilage degeneration and development of chronic symptoms post-injury. As evidenced from these models, a vigorous inflammatory response occurs very early after joint injury but is then sustained at a lower level at the later phases. This early inflammatory response contributes to the development of PTOA features including cartilage erosion and is potentially modifiable, but specific mediators may also play a role in tissue repair. Although the optimal approach and timing of anti-inflammatory interventions after joint injury are yet to be determined, this body of work should provide hope for the future of disease modification tin PTOA. © 2015 Osteoarthritis Research Society International.


Driscoll T.P.,University of Pennsylvania | Cosgrove B.D.,University of Pennsylvania | Heo S.-J.,University of Pennsylvania | Shurden Z.E.,University of Pennsylvania | And 2 more authors.
Biophysical Journal | Year: 2015

Mechanical forces transduced to cells through the extracellular matrix are critical regulators of tissue development, growth, and homeostasis, and can play important roles in directing stem cell differentiation. In addition to force-sensing mechanisms that reside at the cell surface, there is growing evidence that forces transmitted through the cytoskeleton and to the nuclear envelope are important for mechanosensing, including activation of the Yes-associated protein (YAP)/transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) pathway. Moreover, nuclear shape, mechanics, and deformability change with differentiation state and have been likewise implicated in force sensing and differentiation. However, the significance of force transfer to the nucleus through the mechanosensing cytoskeletal machinery in the regulation of mesenchymal stem cell mechanobiologic response remains unclear. Here we report that actomyosin-generated cytoskeletal tension regulates nuclear shape and force transmission through the cytoskeleton and demonstrate the differential short- and long-term response of mesenchymal stem cells to dynamic tensile loading based on the contractility state, the patency of the actin cytoskeleton, and the connections it makes with the nucleus. Specifically, we show that while some mechanoactive signaling pathways (e.g., ERK signaling) can be activated in the absence of nuclear strain transfer, cytoskeletal strain transfer to the nucleus is essential for activation of the YAP/TAZ pathway with stretch. © 2015 Biophysical Society.


Mauck R.L.,University of Pennsylvania | Mauck R.L.,Translational Musculoskeletal Research Center | Burdick J.A.,University of Pennsylvania | Burdick J.A.,Translational Musculoskeletal Research Center
Annals of Biomedical Engineering | Year: 2015

When the field of tissue engineering first arose, scaffolds were conceived of as inert three-dimensional structures whose primary function was to support cellularity and tissue growth. Since then, advances in scaffold and biomaterial design have evolved to not only guide tissue formation, but also to interact dynamically with and manipulate the wound environment. At present, these efforts are being directed towards strategies that directly address limitations in endogenous wound repair, with the goal of reprogramming the local wound environment (and the cells within that locality) from a state that culminates in an inferior tissue repair into a state in which functional regeneration is achieved. This review will address this approach with a focus on recent advances in scaffold design towards the resolution of tears of the knee meniscus as a case example. The inherent limitations to endogenous repair will be discussed, as will specific examples of how biomaterials are being designed to overcome these limitations. Examples will include design of fibrous scaffolds that promote colonization by modulating local extracellular matrix density and delivering recruitment factors. Furthermore, we will discuss scaffolds that are themselves modulated by the wound environment to alter porosity and modulate therapeutic release through precise coordination of scaffold degradation. Finally, we will close with emerging concepts in local control of cell mechanics to improve interstitial cell migration and so advance repair. Overall, these examples will illustrate how emergent features within a biomaterial can be tuned to manipulate and harness the local tissue microenvironment in order to promote robust regeneration. © 2015, Biomedical Engineering Society.


Cote A.J.,University of Pennsylvania | McLeod C.M.,University of Pennsylvania | McLeod C.M.,Translational Musculoskeletal Research Center | Farrell M.J.,University of Pennsylvania | And 5 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2016

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) display substantial cell-to-cell heterogeneity, complicating their use in regenerative medicine. However, conventional bulk assays mask this variability. Here we show that both chondrocytes and chondrogenically induced MSCs exhibit substantial mRNA expression heterogeneity. Single-molecule RNA FISH to measure mRNA expression of differentiation markers in single cells reveals that sister cell pairs have high levels of mRNA variability, suggesting that marker expression is not heritable. Surprisingly, this variability does not correlate with cell-to-cell differences in cartilage-like matrix production. Transcriptome-wide analysis suggests that no combination of markers can predict functional potential. De-differentiating chondrocytes also show a disconnect between mRNA expression of the cartilage marker aggrecan and cartilage-like matrix accumulation. Altogether, these quantitative analyses suggest that sorting subpopulations based on these markers would only marginally enrich the progenitor population for 'superior' MSCs. Our results suggest that instantaneous mRNA abundance of canonical markers is tenuously linked to the chondrogenic phenotype at the single-cell level.

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