Scholarly Works, School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences

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Research articles, presentations, and other scholarship


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  • Improving Assessment in Kidney Transplantation by Multitask General Path Model
    Lan, Qing; Chen, Xiaoyu; Li, Murong; Robertson, John; Lei, Yong; Jin, Ran (2023)
    Kidney transplantation helps end-stage patients regain health and quality-of-life. The decisions for matching donor kidneys and recipients affect success of transplantation. However, current kidney matching decision procedures do not consider viability loss during preservation. The objective here is to forecast heterogeneous kidney viability, based on historical datasets to support kidney matching decision-making. Six recently procured porcine kidneys were used to conduct viability assessment experiments to validate the proposed multitask general path model. The model forecasts kidney viability by transferring knowledge from learning the commonality of all kidneys and the heterogeneity of each kidney. The proposed model provides exactly accurate kidney viability forecasting results compared to the state-of-the-art models including a multitask learning model, a general path model, and a general linear model. The proposed model provides satisfactory kidney viability forecasting accuracy because it quantifies the degradation information from trajectory of a viability loss path. It transfers knowledge of common effects from all kidneys and identifies individual effects of each kidney. This method can be readily extended to other decision-making scenarios in kidney transplantation to improve overall assessment performance. For example, analytical generalizations gained by modeling have been validated based on needle biopsy data targeting the improvement of tissue extraction accuracy. The proposed model applied in multiple kidney assessment processes in transplantation can potentially reduce the kidney discard rate by providing effective kidney matching decisions. Thus, the increased kidney utilization rate will benefit more patients and prolong their lives.
  • Trunk postural control during unstable sitting among individuals with and without low back pain: A systematic review with an individual participant data meta-analysis
    Alshehri, Mansour A.; Alzahrani, Hosam; van den Hoorn, Wolbert; Klyne, David M.; Vette, Albert H.; Hendershot, Brad D.; Roberts, Brad W. R.; Larivière, Christian; Barbado, David; Vera-Garcia, Francisco J.; van Dieen, Jaap H.; Cholewicki, Jacek; Nussbaum, Maury A.; Madigan, Michael L.; Reeves, Norman Peter; Silfies, Sheri P.; Brown, Stephen H. M.; Hodges, Paul W. (Public Library of Science, 2024-01-24)
    Introduction Sitting on an unstable surface is a common paradigm to investigate trunk postural control among individuals with low back pain (LBP), by minimizing the influence lower extremities on balance control. Outcomes of many small studies are inconsistent (e.g., some find differences between groups while others do not), potentially due to confounding factors such as age, sex, body mass index [BMI], or clinical presentations. We conducted a systematic review with an individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis to investigate whether trunk postural control differs between those with and without LBP, and whether the difference between groups is impacted by vision and potential confounding factors. Methods We completed this review according to PRISMA-IPD guidelines. The literature was screened (up to 7th September 2023) from five electronic databases: MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science Core Collection. Outcome measures were extracted that describe unstable seat movements, specifically centre of pressure or seat angle. Our main analyses included: 1) a two-stage IPD meta-analysis to assess the difference between groups and their interaction with age, sex, BMI, and vision on trunk postural control; 2) and a two-stage IPD meta-regression to determine the effects of LBP clinical features (pain intensity, disability, pain catastrophizing, and fear-avoidance beliefs) on trunk postural control. Results Forty studies (1,821 participants) were included for the descriptive analysis and 24 studies (1,050 participants) were included for the IPD analysis. IPD meta-analyses revealed three main findings: (a) trunk postural control was worse (higher root mean square displacement [RMSdispl], range, and long-term diffusion; lower mean power frequency) among individuals with than without LBP; (b) trunk postural control deteriorated more (higher RMSdispl, shortand long-term diffusion) among individuals with than without LBP when vision was removed; and (c) older age and higher BMI had greater adverse impacts on trunk postural control (higher short-term diffusion; longer time and distance coordinates of the critical point) among individuals with than without LBP. IPD meta-regressions indicated no associations between the limited LBP clinical features that could be considered and trunk postural control. Conclusion Trunk postural control appears to be inferior among individuals with LBP, which was indicated by increased seat movements and some evidence of trunk stiffening. These findings are likely explained by delayed or less accurate corrective responses.
  • Engineered live bacteria as disease detection and diagnosis tools
    Tanniche, Imen; Behkam, Bahareh (2023-10-24)
    Sensitive and minimally invasive medical diagnostics are essential to the early detection of diseases, monitoring their progression and response to treatment. Engineered bacteria as live sensors are being developed as a new class of biosensors for sensitive, robust, noninvasive, and in situ detection of disease onset at low cost. Akin to microrobotic systems, a combination of simple genetic rules, basic logic gates, and complex synthetic bioengineering principles are used to program bacterial vectors as living machines for detecting biomarkers of diseases, some of which cannot be detected with other sensing technologies. Bacterial whole-cell biosensors (BWCBs) can have wide-ranging functions from detection only, to detection and recording, to closed-loop detection-regulated treatment. In this review article, we first summarize the unique benefits of bacteria as living sensors. We then describe the different bacteria-based diagnosis approaches and provide examples of diagnosing various diseases and disorders. We also discuss the use of bacteria as imaging vectors for disease detection and image-guided surgery. We conclude by highlighting current challenges and opportunities for further exploration toward clinical translation of these bacteria-based systems.
  • Development of a Synthetic, Injectable Hydrogel to Capture Residual Glioblastoma and Glioblastoma Stem-Like Cells with CXCL12-Mediated Chemotaxis
    Khan, Zerin Mahzabin; Munson, Jennifer M.; Long, Timothy E.; Vlaisavljevich, Eli; Verbridge, Scott S. (Wiley, 2023-06)
    Glioblastoma (GBM), characterized by high infiltrative capacity, is the most common and deadly type of primary brain tumor in adults. GBM cells, including therapy-resistant glioblastoma stem-like cells (GSCs), invade the healthy brain parenchyma to form secondary tumors even after patients undergo surgical resection and chemoradiotherapy. New techniques are therefore urgently needed to eradicate these residual tumor cells. A thiol-Michael addition injectable hydrogel for compatibility with GBM therapy is previously characterized and optimized. This study aims to develop the hydrogel further to capture GBM/GSCs through CXCL12-mediated chemotaxis. The release kinetics of hydrogel payloads are investigated, migration and invasion assays in response to chemoattractants are performed, and the GBM-hydrogel interactions in vitro are studied. With a novel dual-layer hydrogel platform, it is demonstrated that CXCL12 released from the synthetic hydrogel can induce the migration of U251 GBM cells and GSCs from the extracellular matrix microenvironment and promote invasion into the synthetic hydrogel via amoeboid migration. The survival of GBM cells entrapped deep into the synthetic hydrogel is limited, while live cells near the surface reinforce the hydrogel through fibronectin deposition. This synthetic hydrogel, therefore, demonstrates a promising method to attract and capture migratory GBM cells and GSCs responsive to CXCL12 chemotaxis.
  • Characterization and structure-property relationships of an injectable thiol-Michael addition hydrogel toward compatibility with glioblastoma therapy
    Khan, Zerin Mahzabin; Wilts, Emily; Vlaisavljevich, Eli; Long, Timothy E.; Verbridge, Scott S. (Elsevier, 2022-05-01)
    Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive primary brain cancer and although patients undergo surgery and chemoradiotherapy, residual cancer cells still migrate to healthy brain tissue and lead to tumor relapse after treatment. New therapeutic strategies are therefore urgently needed to better mitigate this tumor recurrence. To address this need, we envision after surgical removal of the tumor, implantable biomaterials in the resection cavity can treat or collect residual GBM cells for their subsequent eradication. To this end, we systematically characterized a poly(ethylene glycol)-based injectable hydrogel crosslinked via a thiol-Michael addition reaction by tuning its hydration level and aqueous NaHCO3 concentration. The physical and chemical properties of the different formulations were investigated by assessing the strength and stability of the polymer networks and their swelling behavior. The hydrogel biocompatibility was assessed by performing in vitro cytotoxicity assays, immunoassays, and immunocytochemistry to monitor the reactivity of astrocytes cultured on the hydrogel surface over time. These characterization studies revealed key structure-property relationships. Furthermore, the results indicated hydrogels synthesized with 0.175 M NaHCO3 and 50 wt% water content swelled the least, possessed a storage modulus that can withstand high intracranial pressures while avoiding a mechanical mismatch, had a sufficiently crosslinked polymer network, and did not degrade rapidly. This formulation was not cytotoxic to astrocytes and produced minimal immunogenic responses in vitro. These properties suggest this hydrogel formulation is the most optimal for implantation in the resection cavity and compatible toward GBM therapy. Statement of significance: Survival times for glioblastoma patients have not improved significantly over the last several decades, as cancer cells remain after conventional therapies and form secondary tumors. We characterized a biodegradable, injectable hydrogel to reveal structure-property relationships that can be tuned to conform the hydrogel toward glioblastoma therapy. Nine formulations were systematically characterized to optimize the hydrogel based on physical, chemical, and biological compatibility with the glioblastoma microenvironment. This hydrogel can potentially be used for adjuvant therapy to glioblastoma treatment, such as by providing a source of molecular release for therapeutic agents, which will be investigated in future work. The optimized formulation will be developed further to capture and eradicate glioblastoma cells with chemical and physical stimuli in future research.
  • Electroresponsive Hydrogels for Therapeutic Applications in the Brain
    Khan, Zerin Mahzabin; Wilts, Emily; Vlaisavljevich, Eli; Long, Timothy E.; Verbridge, Scott S. (Wiley, 2021-12-01)
    Electroresponsive hydrogels possess a conducting material component and respond to electric stimulation through reversible absorption and expulsion of water. The high level of hydration, soft elastomeric compliance, biocompatibility, and enhanced electrochemical properties render these hydrogels suitable for implantation in the brain to enhance the transmission of neural electric signals and ion transport. This review provides an overview of critical electroresponsive hydrogel properties for augmenting electric stimulation in the brain. A background on electric stimulation in the brain through electroresponsive hydrogels is provided. Common conducting materials and general techniques to integrate them into hydrogels are briefly discussed. This review focuses on and summarizes advances in electric stimulation of electroconductive hydrogels for therapeutic applications in the brain, such as for controlling delivery of drugs, directing neural stem cell differentiation and neurogenesis, improving neural biosensor capabilities, and enhancing neural electrode-tissue interfaces. The key challenges in each of these applications are discussed and recommendations for future research are also provided.
  • In-Season Concussion Symptom Reporting in Male and Female Collegiate Rugby Athletes
    Kieffer, Emily E.; Brolinson, Per Gunnar; Maerlender, Arthur C.; Smith, Eric P.; Rowson, Steven (2021-11-01)
    Symptom inventories are generally only collected after a suspected concussion, but regular in-season monitoring may allude to clinical symptoms associated with repetitive subconcussive impacts and potential undiagnosed concussions. Despite sex-specific differences in symptom presentation and outcome of concussion, no return-to-play protocol takes sex into account. The objective of this study was to monitor a cohort of contact-sport athletes and compare the frequency and severity of in-season concussion-like symptom reporting between sexes. Graded symptom checklists from 144 female and 104 male athlete-seasons were administered weekly to quantify the effect of subconcussive impacts on frequency and severity of in-season symptom reporting. In-season, mean symptom severity score (SSS) (p = 0.026, mean difference of 1.8), mean number of symptoms (p = 0.044, mean difference of 0.9), max SSS (p < 0.001, mean difference of 19.2), and max number of symptoms (p < 0.001, mean difference of 6.8) were higher in the females. The females' survey results showed differences between elevated and concussed SSS (p < 0.005, mean difference of 28.1) and number of symptoms reported (p = 0.001, mean difference of 6.6). The males did not have a difference in SSS (p = 0.97, mean difference of 1.12) nor in number of symptoms (p = 0.35, mean difference of 1.96) from elevated to concussed athletes. Rugby players report concussion-like symptoms in the absence of a diagnosed concussion in-season. Female athletes reported elevated symptom frequencies with greater severities than the males, but both sexes reported considerable levels throughout the season.
  • Harnessing Tissue Engineering Tools to Interrogate Host-Microbiota Crosstalk in Cancer
    Udayasuryan, Barath; Nguyen, Tam T. D.; Slade, Daniel J.; Verbridge, Scott S. (Cell Press, 2020-12-18)
    Recent studies have begun to highlight the diverse and tumor-specific microbiomes across multiple cancer types. We believe this work raises the important question of whether the classical “Hallmarks of Cancer” should be expanded to include tumor microbiomes. To answer this question, the causal relationships and co-evolution of these microbiotic tumor ecosystems must be better understood. Because host-microbe interactions should be studied in a physiologically relevant context, animal models have been preferred. Yet these models are often poor mimics of human tumors and are difficult to interrogate at high spatiotemporal resolution. We believe that in vitro tissue engineered platforms could provide a powerful alternative approach that combines the high-resolution of in vitro studies with a high degree of physiological relevance. This review will focus on tissue engineered approaches to study host-microbe interactions and to establish their role as an emerging hallmark of cancer with potential as a therapeutic target.
  • Opponent Effects of Hyperarousal and Re-experiencing on Affective Habituation in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
    McCurry, Katherine L.; Frueh, B. Christopher; Chiu, Pearl H.; Casas, Brooks (2020-02)
    BACKGROUND: Aberrant emotion processing is a hallmark of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with neurobiological models suggesting both heightened neural reactivity and diminished habituation to aversive stimuli. However, empirical work suggests that these response patterns may be specific to subsets of those with PTSD. This study investigates the unique contributions of PTSD symptom clusters (re-experiencing, avoidance and numbing, and hyperarousal) to neural reactivity and habituation to negative stimuli in combat-exposed veterans. METHODS: Ninety-five combat-exposed veterans (46 with PTSD) and 53 community volunteers underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while viewing emotional images. This study examined the relationship between symptom cluster severity and hemodynamic responses to negative compared with neutral images (NEG>NEU). RESULTS: Veterans exhibited comparable mean and habituation-related responses for NEG>NEU, relative to civilians. However, among veterans, habituation, but not mean response, was differentially related to PTSD symptom severity. Hyperarousal symptoms were related to decreased habituation for NEG>NEU in a network of regions, including superior and inferior frontal gyri, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, superior and middle temporal gyri, and anterior insula. In contrast, re-experiencing symptoms were associated with increased habituation in a similar network. Furthermore, re-experiencing severity was positively related to amygdalar functional connectivity with the left inferior frontal gyrus and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex for NEG>NEU. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that hyperarousal symptoms in combat-related PTSD are associated with decreased neural habituation to aversive stimuli. These impairments are partially mitigated in the presence of re-experiencing symptoms, such that during exposure to negative stimuli, re-experiencing symptoms are positively associated with amygdalar connectivity to prefrontal regions implicated in affective suppression.
  • Characterization of multicellular breast tumor spheroids using image data-driven biophysical mathematical modeling
    Bowers, Haley J.; Fannin, Emily E.; Thomas, Alexandra; Weis, Jared A. (2020-07-14)
    Multicellular tumor spheroid (MCTS) systems provide an in vitro cell culture model system which mimics many of the complexities of an in vivo solid tumor and tumor microenvironment, and are often used to study cancer cell growth and drug efficacy. Here, we present a coupled experimental-computational framework to estimate phenotypic growth and biophysical tumor microenvironment properties. This novel framework utilizes standard microscopy imaging of MCTS systems to drive a biophysical mathematical model of MCTS growth and mechanical interactions. By extending our previous in vivo mechanically-coupled reaction-diffusion modeling framework we developed a microscopy image processing framework capable of mechanistic characterization of MCTS systems. Using MDA-MB-231 breast cancer MCTS, we estimated biophysical parameters of cellular diffusion, rate of cellular proliferation, and cellular tractions forces. We found significant differences in these model-based biophysical parameters throughout the treatment time course between untreated and treated MCTS systems, whereas traditional size-based morphometric parameters were inconclusive. The proposed experimental-computational framework estimates mechanistic MCTS growth and invasion parameters with significant potential to assist in better and more precise assessment of in vitro drug efficacy through the development of computational analysis methodologies for three-dimensional cell culture systems to improve the development and evaluation of antineoplastic drugs.
  • Characterization of Ablation Thresholds for 3D-Cultured Patient-Derived Glioma Stem Cells in Response to High-Frequency Irreversible Electroporation
    Ivey, J. W.; Wasson, E. M.; Alinezhadbalalami, N.; Kanitkar, A.; Debinski, Waldemar; Sheng, Z.; Davalos, Rafael V.; Verbridge, Scott S. (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2019-04-28)
    High-frequency irreversible electroporation (H-FIRE) is a technique that uses pulsed electric fields that have been shown to ablate malignant cells. In order to evaluate the clinical potential of H-FIRE to treat glioblastoma (GBM), a primary brain tumor, we have studied the effects of high-frequency waveforms on therapy-resistant glioma stem-like cell (GSC) populations. We demonstrate that patient-derived GSCs are more susceptible to H-FIRE damage than primary normal astrocytes. This selectivity presents an opportunity for a degree of malignant cell targeting as bulk tumor cells and tumor stem cells are seen to exhibit similar lethal electric field thresholds, significantly lower than that of healthy astrocytes. However, neural stem cell (NSC) populations also exhibit a similar sensitivity to these pulses. This observation may suggest that different considerations be taken when applying these therapies in younger versus older patients, where the importance of preserving NSC populations may impose different restrictions on use.We also demonstrate variability in threshold among the three patient-derived GSC lines studied, suggesting the need for personalized cell-specific characterization in the development of potential clinical procedures. Future work may provide further useful insights regarding this patient-dependent variability observed that could inform targeted and personalized treatment.
  • Cytoskeletal Disruption after Electroporation and Its Significance to Pulsed Electric Field Therapies
    Graybill, Philip M.; Davalos, Rafael V. (MDPI, 2020-04-30)
    Pulsed electric fields (PEFs) have become clinically important through the success of Irreversible Electroporation (IRE), Electrochemotherapy (ECT), and nanosecond PEFs (nsPEFs) for the treatment of tumors. PEFs increase the permeability of cell membranes, a phenomenon known as electroporation. In addition to well-known membrane effects, PEFs can cause profound cytoskeletal disruption. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of cytoskeletal disruption after PEFs. Compiling available studies, we describe PEF-induced cytoskeletal disruption and possible mechanisms of disruption. Additionally, we consider how cytoskeletal alterations contribute to cell–cell and cell–substrate disruption. We conclude with a discussion of cytoskeletal disruption-induced anti-vascular effects of PEFs and consider how a better understanding of cytoskeletal disruption after PEFs may lead to more effective therapies.
  • Data-driven statistical modeling of the emergent behavior of biohybrid microrobots
    Leaman, Eric J.; Sahari, Ali; Traore, Mahama Aziz; Geuther, Brian Q.; Morrow, Carmen M.; Behkam, Bahareh (2020-03-01)
    Multi-agent biohybrid microrobotic systems, owing to their small size and distributed nature, offer powerful solutions to challenges in biomedicine, bioremediation, and biosensing. Synthetic biology enables programmed emergent behaviors in the biotic component of biohybrid machines, expounding vast potential benefits for building biohybrid swarms with sophisticated control schemes. The design of synthetic genetic circuits tailored toward specific performance characteristics is an iterative process that relies on experimental characterization of spatially homogeneous engineered cell suspensions. However, biohybrid systems often distribute heterogeneously in complex environments, which will alter circuit performance. Thus, there is a critically unmet need for simple predictive models that describe emergent behaviors of biohybrid systems to inform synthetic gene circuit design. Here, we report a data-driven statistical model for computationally efficient recapitulation of the motility dynamics of two types of Escherichia coli bacteria-based biohybrid swarms-NanoBEADS and BacteriaBots. The statistical model was coupled with a computational model of cooperative gene expression, known as quorum sensing (QS). We determined differences in timescales for programmed emergent behavior in BacteriaBots and NanoBEADS swarms, using bacteria as a comparative baseline. We show that agent localization and genetic circuit sensitivity strongly influence the timeframe and the robustness of the emergent behavior in both systems. Finally, we use our model to design a QS-based decentralized control scheme wherein agents make independent decisions based on their interaction with other agents and the local environment. We show that synergistic integration of synthetic biology and predictive modeling is requisite for the efficient development of biohybrid systems with robust emergent behaviors.
  • The assembly of integrated rat intestinal-hepatocyte cultures
    Kothari, Anjaney; Rajagopalan, Padmavathy (2019-11)
    The jejunum is the segment of the small intestine responsible for several metabolism and biotransformation functions. In this report, we have cultured rat jejunum explants in vitro and integrated them with hepatocyte cultures. We have also investigated the changes in jejunum function at different locations since spatial variations in intestinal functions have been reported previously. We divided the length of the rat jejunum into three distinct regions of approximately 9 cm each. We defined the regions as proximal (adjacent to the duodenum), medial, and distal (adjacent to the ileum). Spatiotemporal variations in functions were observed between these regions within the jejunum. Alkaline phosphatase activity (a marker of enterocyte function), decreased twofold between the proximal and distal regions at 4 hr. Lysozyme activity (a marker of Paneth cell function) increased from the proximal to the distal jejunum by 40% at 24 hr. Mucin-covered areas, a marker of goblet cell function, increased by twofold between the proximal and distal segments of the jejunum at 24 hr. When hepatocytes were integrated with proximal jejunum explants, statistically higher urea (similar to 2.4-fold) and mucin (57%) production were observed in the jejunum explants. The integrated intestine-liver cultures can be used as a platform for future investigations.
  • Real-time prediction of patient immune cell modulation during irreversible electroporation therapy
    Beitel-White, Natalie; Martin, Robert C. G.; Li, Y.; Brock, R. M.; Allen, Irving C.; Davalos, Rafael V. (2019-11-28)
    Immunotherapies have demonstrated limited efficacy in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) patients despite their success in treating other tumor types. This limitation is largely due to the relatively immunosuppressive environment surrounding the tumor. A focal ablative technique called irreversible electroporation (IRE) has been shown to modulate this environment, enhancing the efficacy of immunotherapy. One enhancing factor related to improved prognosis is a decrease in regulatory T cells (T-reg). This decrease has been previously unpredictable for clinicians using IRE, who currently have limited real-time metrics for determining the activation of the patient's immune response. Here, we report that larger overall changes in output current are correlated with larger decreases in T cell populations 24 hours post-treatment. This result suggests that clinicians can make real-time decisions regarding optimal follow-up therapy based on the range of output current delivered during treatment. This capability could maximize the immunomodulating effect of IRE in synergy with follow-up immunotherapy. Additionally, these results suggest that feedback from a preliminary IRE treatment of the local tumor may help inform clinicians regarding the timing and choice of subsequent therapies, such as resection, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, or follow-up thermal or non-thermal ablation.
  • Fabrication and Characterization of Three Dimensional Electrospun Cortical Bone Scaffolds
    Andric, Tea; Taylor, Brittany L.; Degen, Katherine E.; Whittington, Abby R.; Freeman, Joseph W. (De Gruyter Open, 2014)
    Bone is a composite tissue composed of an organic matrix, inorganic mineral matrix and water. Structurally, bone is organized into two distinct types: trabecular (or cancellous) and cortical (or compact) bone. Cortical bone is highly organized, dense and composed of tightly packed units or osteons whereas trabecular bone is highly porous and usually found within the confines of cortical bone. Osteons, the subunits of cortical bone, consist of concentric layers of mineralized collagen fibers. While many scaffold fabrication techniques have sought to replicate the structure and organization of trabecular bone, very little research focuses on mimicking the organization of native cortical bone. In this study we fabricated three-dimensional electrospun cortical scaffolds by heat sintering individual osteon-like scaffolds. The scaffolds contained a system of channels running parallel to the length of the scaffolds, as found naturally in the haversian systems of bone tissue. The purpose of the studies discussed in this paper was to develop a mechanically enhanced biomimetic electrospun cortical scaffold. To that end we investigated the appropriate mineralization and cross-linking methods for these structures and to evaluate the mechanical properties of scaffolds with varying fiber angles. Cross-linking the gelatin in the scaffolds prior to the mineralization of the scaffolds proved to help prevent channels of the osteons from collapsing during fabrication. Premineralization, before larger scaffold formation and mineralization, increased mineral deposition between the electrospun layers of the scaffolds. A combination of cross-linking and premineralization significantly increased the compressive moduli of the individual scaffolds. Furthermore, scaffolds with fibers orientation ranging between 15° and 45° yielded the highest compressive moduli and yield strength.
  • Temporal Characterization of Blood–Brain Barrier Disruption with High-Frequency Electroporation
    Lorenzo, Melvin F.; Thomas, Sean C.; Kani, Yukitaka; Hinckley, Jonathan; Lee, Matthew; Adler, Joy; Verbridge, Scott S.; Hsu, Fang-Chi; Robertson, John L.; Davalos, Rafael V.; Rossmeisl, John H. Jr. (MDPI, 2019-11-23)
    Treatment of intracranial disorders suffers from the inability to accumulate therapeutic drug concentrations due to protection from the blood–brain barrier (BBB). Electroporation-based therapies have demonstrated the capability of permeating the BBB, but knowledge of the longevity of BBB disruption (BBBD) is limited. In this study, we quantify the temporal, high-frequency electroporation (HFE)-mediated BBBD in an in vivo healthy rat brain model. 40 male Fisher rats underwent HFE treatment; two blunt tipped monopolar electrodes were advanced into the brain and 200 bursts of HFE were delivered at a voltage-to-distance ratio of 600 V/cm. BBBD was verified with contrast enhanced T1W MRI (gadopentetate dimeglumine) and pathologically (Evans blue dye) at time points of 1, 24, 48, 72, and 96 h after HFE. Contrast enhanced T1W scans demonstrated BBBD for 1 to 72 h after HFE but intact BBB at 96 h. Histologically, tissue damage was restricted to electrode insertion tracks. BBBD was induced with minimal muscle contractions and minimal cell death attributed to HFE. Numerical modeling indicated that brief BBBD was induced with low magnitude electric fields, and BBBD duration increased with field strength. These data suggest the spatiotemporal characteristics of HFE-mediated BBBD may be modulated with the locally applied electric field.
  • TNF alpha Modulates Cardiac Conduction by Altering Electrical Coupling between Myocytes
    George, Sharon A.; Calhoun, Patrick J.; Gourdie, Robert G.; Smyth, James W.; Poelzing, Steven (Frontiers, 2017-05-23)
    Background: Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF alpha) upregulation during acute inflammatory response has been associated with numerous cardiac effects including modulating Connexin43 and vascular permeability. This may in turn alter cardiac gap junctional (GJ) coupling and extracellular volume (ephaptic coupling) respectively. We hypothesized that acute exposure to pathophysiological TNF alpha levels can modulate conduction velocity (CV) in the heart by altering electrical coupling: GJ and ephaptic. Methods and Results: Hearts were optically mapped to determine CV from control, TNF alpha and TNF alpha + high calcium(2.5 vs. 1.25 mM) treated guinea pig hearts over 90 mins. Transmission electron microscopy was performed to measure changes in intercellular separation in the gap junction-adjacent extracellular nanodomain-perinexus (W-P). Cx43 expression and phosphorylation were determined by Western blotting and Cx43 distribution by confocal immunofluorescence. At 90 mins, longitudinal and transverse CV (CVL and CVT, respectively) increased with control Tyrode perfusion but TNF alpha slowed CVT alone relative to control and anisotropy of conduction increased, but not significantly. TNF alpha increased W-P relative to control at 90 mins, without significantly changing GJ coupling. Increasing extracellular calcium after 30 mins of just TNF alpha exposure increased CVT within 15 mins. TNF alpha + high calcium also restored CVT at 90 mins and reduced W-P to control values. Interestingly, TNF alpha + high calcium also improved GJ coupling at 90 mins, which along with reduced W-P may have contributed to increasing CV. Conclusions: Elevating extracellular calcium during acute TNF alpha exposure reduces perinexal expansion, increases ephaptic, and GJ coupling, improves CV and may be a novel method for preventing inflammation induced CV slowing.
  • Maximizing Local Access to Therapeutic Deliveries in Glioblastoma. Part III: Irreversible Electroporation and High-Frequency Irreversible Electroporation for the Eradication of Glioblastoma
    Lorenzo, Melvin F.; Arena, Christopher B.; Davalos, Rafael V. (2017)
    Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and aggressive primary brain tumor in adults. Approximately 9180 primary GBM tumors are diagnosed in the United States each year, in which median survival is up to 16 months. GBM eludes and resists typical cancer treatments due to the presence of infiltrative cells beyond the solid tumor margin, heterogeneity within the tumor microenvironment, and protection from the blood-brain barrier. Conventional treatments for GBM, such as surgical resection, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, have shown limited efficacy; therefore, alternate treatments are needed. Tumor chemoresistance and its proximity to critical structures make GBM a prime theoretical candidate for nonthermal ablation with irreversible electroporation (IRE) and high-frequency IRE (H-FIRE). IRE and H-FIRE are treatment modalities that utilize pulsed electric fields to permeabilize the cell membrane. Once the electric field magnitude exceeds a tissue-specific lethal threshold, cell death occurs. Benefits of IRE and H-FIRE therapy include, but are not limited to, the elimination of cytotoxic effects, sharp delineation from treated tissue and spared tissue, a nonthermal mechanism of ablation, and sparing of nerves and major blood vessels. Preclinical studies have confirmed the safety and efficacy of IRE and H-FIRE within their experimental scope. In this chapter, studies will be collected and information extrapolated to provide possible treatment regimens for use in high-grade gliomas, specifically in GBM.
  • Nanonet force microscopy for measuring forces in single smooth muscle cells of the human aorta
    Hall, Alexander; Chan, Patrick; Sheets, Kevin; Apperson, Matthew; Delaughter, Christopher; Gleason, Thomas G.; Phillippi, Julie A.; Nain, Amrinder S. (2017-07-07)
    A number of innovative methods exist to measure cell-matrix adhesive forces, but they have yet to accurately describe and quantify the intricate interplay of a cell and its fibrous extracellular matrix (ECM). In cardiovascular pathologies, such as aortic aneurysm, new knowledge on the involvement of cell-matrix forces could lead to elucidation of disease mechanisms. To better understand this dynamics, we measured primary human aortic single smooth muscle cell (SMC) forces using nanonet force microscopy in both inside-out (I-O intrinsic contractility) and outside-in (O-I external perturbation) modes. For SMC populations, we measured the I-O and O-I forces to be 12.9 +/- 1.0 and 57.9 +/- 2.5 nN, respectively. Exposure of cells to oxidative stress conditions caused a force decrease of 57 and 48% in I-O and O-I modes, respectively, and an increase in migration rate by 2.5-fold. Finally, in O-I mode, we cyclically perturbed cells at constant strain of varying duration to simulate in vivo conditions of the cardiac cycle and found that I-O forces decrease with increasing duration and O-I forces decreased by half at shorter cycle times. Thus our findings highlight the need to study forces exerted and felt by cells simultaneously to comprehensively understand force modulation in cardiovascular disease.