A Bilayer Construct Controls Adipose-Derived Stem Cell Differentiation into Endothelial Cells and Pericytes without Growth Factor Stimulation
ARMY INST OF SURGICAL RESEARCH FORT SAM HOUSTON TX
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This work describes the differentiation of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells ASC in a composite hydrogel for use as a vascularized dermal matrix. Our intent is that such a construct could be utilized following large-surface-area burn wounds that require extensive skin grafting and that are limited by the availability of uninjured sites. To develop engineered skin replacement constructs, we are pursuing the use of ASC. We have established that a PEGylated fibrin gel can provide a suitable environment for the proliferation of ASC over a 7 day time course. Further, we have demonstrated that PEGylated fibrin can be used to control ASC differentiation toward vascular cell types, including cells characteristic of both endothelial cells and pericytes. Gene expression analysis revealed strong upregulation of endothelial markers, CD31, and von Willebrand factor, up to day 11 in culture with corresponding evidence of protein expression demonstrated by immunocytochemical staining. ASC were not only shown to express endothelial cell phenotype, but a subset of the ASC expressed pericyte markers. The NG2 gene was upregulated over 11 days with corresponding evidence for the cell surface marker. Platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta gene expression decreased as the multipotent ASC differentiated up to day 7. Increased receptor expression at day 11 was likely due to the enhanced pericyte gene expression profile, including increased NG2 expression. We have also demonstrated that when cells are loaded onto chitosan microspheres and sandwiched between the PEGylated fibrin gel and a type I collagen gel, the cells can migrate and proliferate within the two different gel types. The matrix composition dictates the lineage specification and is not driven by soluble factors. Utilizing an insoluble bilayer matrix to direct ASC differentiation will allow for the development of both vasculature as well as dermal connective tissue from a single population of ASC.
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