Biomedical Engineering - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 126
Progress and Perspectives Beyond Traditional RAFT Polymerization
The development of advanced materials based on well‐defined polymeric architectures is proving to be a highly prosperous research direction across both industry and academia. Controlled radical polymerization techniques are receiving unprecedented attention, with reversible‐deactivation chain growth procedures now routinely leveraged to prepare exquisitely precise polymer products. Reversible addition‐fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization is a powerful protocol within this domain, where the unique chemistry of thiocarbonylthio (TCT) compounds can be harnessed to control radical chain growth of vinyl polymers. With the intense recent focus on RAFT, new strategies for initiation and external control have emerged that are paving the way for preparing well‐defined polymers for demanding applications. In this work, the cutting‐edge innovations in RAFT that are opening up this technique to a broader suite of materials researchers are explored. Emerging strategies for activating TCTs are surveyed, which are providing access into traditionally challenging environments for reversible‐deactivation radical polymerization. The latest advances and future perspectives in applying RAFT‐derived polymers are also shared, with the goal to convey the rich potential of RAFT for an ever‐expanding range of high‐performance applications.
If Human Brain Organoids Are the Answer to Understanding Dementia, What Are the Questions?
(Sage Publications, 2020-10)
Because our beliefs regarding our individuality, autonomy, and personhood are intimately bound up with our brains, there is a public fascination with cerebral organoids, the “mini-brain,” the “brain in a dish”. At the same time, the ethical issues around organoids are only now being explored. What are the prospects of using human cerebral organoids to better understand, treat, or prevent dementia? Will human organoids represent an improvement on the current, less-than-satisfactory, animal models? When considering these questions, two major issues arise. One is the general challenge associated with using any stem cell–generated preparation for in vitro modelling (challenges amplified when using organoids compared with simpler cell culture systems). The other relates to complexities associated with defining and understanding what we mean by the term “dementia.” We discuss 10 puzzles, issues, and stumbling blocks to watch for in the quest to model “dementia in a dish.”
Natural Products as Promising Drug Candidates for the Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease: Molecular Mechanism Aspect
(BENTHAM SCIENCE PUBL LTD, 2013-07-01)
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disorder to date, with no curative or preventive therapy. Histopathological hallmarks of AD include deposition of β-amyloid plaques and formation of neurofibrillary tangles. Extent studies on pathology of the disease have made important discoveries regarding mechanism of disease and potential therapeutic targets. Many cellular changes including oxidative stress, disruption of Ca2+ homeostasis, inflammation, metabolic disturbances, and accumulation of unfolded/misfolded proteins can lead to programmed cell death in AD. Despite intensive research, only five approved drugs are available for the management of AD. Hence, there is a need to look at alternative therapies. Use of natural products and culinary herbs in medicine has gained popularity in recent years. Several natural substances with neuroprotective effects have been widely studied. Most of these compounds have remarkable antioxidant properties and act mainly by scavenging free radical species. Some of them increase cell survival and improve cognition by directly affecting amyloidogenesis and programmed cell death pathways. Further studies on these natural products and their mechanism of action, parallel with the use of novel pharmaceutical drug design and delivery techniques, enable us to offer an addition to conventional medicine. This review discussed some natural products with potential neuroprotective properties against Aβ with respect to their mechanism of action.
Reduced Prefrontal Short-Latency Afferent Inhibition in Older Adults and Its Relation to Executive Function: A TMS-EEG Study
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2017-05-02)
Combining transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with electroencephalography (EEG) allows for the assessment of various neurophysiological processes in the human cortex. One of these paradigms, short-latency afferent inhibition (SAI), is thought to be a sensitive measure of cholinergic activity. In a previous study, we demonstrated the temporal pattern of this paradigm from both the motor (M1) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) using simultaneous TMS-EEG recording. The SAI paradigm led to marked modulations at N100. In this study, we aimed to investigate the age-related effects on TMS-evoked potentials (TEPs) with the SAI from M1 and the DLPFC in younger (18-59 years old) and older (≥60 years old) participants. Older participants showed significantly lower N100 modulation in M1-SAI as well as DLPFC-SAI compared to the younger participants. Furthermore, the modulation of N100 by DLPFC-SAI in the older participants correlated with executive function as measured with the Trail making test. This paradigm has the potential to non-invasively identify cholinergic changes in cortical regions related to cognition in older participants.
Generation of Vestibular Tissue-Like organoids From Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Using the Rotary Cell Culture System
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2019-03-05)
Hair cells are specialized mechanosensitive cells responsible for mediating balance and hearing within the inner ear. In mammals, hair cells are limited in number and do not regenerate. Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) provide a valuable source for deriving human hair cells to study their development and design therapies to treat and/or prevent their degeneration. In this study we used a dynamic 3D Rotary Cell Culture System (RCCS) for deriving inner ear organoids from hPSCs. We show RCCS-derived organoids recapitulate stages of inner ear development and give rise to an enriched population of hair cells displaying vestibular-like morphological and physiological phenotypes, which resemble developing human fetal inner ear hair cells as well as the presence of accessory otoconia-like structures. These results show that hPSC-derived organoids can generate complex inner ear structural features and be a resource to study inner ear development.
Evaluation of short interval cortical inhibition and intracortical facilitation from the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in patients with schizophrenia.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2017-12-06)
GABAergic and glutamatergic dysfunction in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) are thought to be the core pathophysiological mechanisms of schizophrenia. Recently, we have established a method to index these functions from the DLPFC using the paired transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) paradigms of short interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) and facilitation (ICF) combined with electroencephalography (EEG). In this study, we aimed to evaluate neurophysiological indicators related to GABAA and glutamate receptor-mediated functions respectively from the DLPFC in patients with schizophrenia using these paradigms, compared to healthy controls. Given that these activities contribute to cognitive functions, the relationship between the TMS-evoked potential (TEP) modulations by SICI/ICF and cognitive/clinical measures were explored. Compared to controls, patients showed reduced inhibition in P60 (t22 = -4.961, p < 0.0001) by SICI and reduced facilitation in P60 (t22 = 5.174, p < 0.0001) and N100 (t22 = 3.273, p = 0.003) by ICF. In patients, the modulation of P60 by SICI was correlated with the longest span of the Letter-Number Span Test (r = -0.775, p = 0.003), while the modulation of N100 by ICF was correlated with the total score of the Positive and Negative. Syndrome Scale (r = 0.817, p = 0.002). These findings may represent the pathophysiology, which may be associated with prefrontal GABAA and glutamatergic dysfunctions, in the expression of symptoms of schizophrenia.
Characterization of the influence of age on GABA(A) and glutamatergic mediated functions in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex using paired-pulse TMS-EEG
(IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2017-02-01)
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic and glutamatergic neurotransmissions in the prefrontal cortex decreases with age. Further, cognitive function mediated through the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) also declines with age. Although neuroimaging studies have demonstrated decreased levels of these substances, direct neurophysiological data investigating the effect of aging in the DLPFC in human subjects is lacking. The advent of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) combined with electroencephalography (EEG) has allowed for the assessment of functional neurotransmission in vivo. In the present study, we examined short interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) and intracortical facilitation (ICF) in a group of older adults (> 60 yrs) to evaluate the strength of GABAA and glutamate-mediated neurotransmission in the DLPFC, compared to younger adults (18-59 yrs). Older adults showed an increase of amplitude of N100 by the SICI paradigm, while N45 amplitude was increased and N100 amplitude was decreased by ICF. Moreover, these modulations significantly correlated with age. Our findings provide evidence for age-related alterations of excitatory and inhibitory functions in the prefrontal cortex in healthy adults. Future studies may aim to explore these neurophysiological relationships in the DLPFC in pathological forms of aging that affect cortical functioning such as mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.
In situ formation of poly(vinyl alcohol)-heparin hydrogels for mild encapsulation and prolonged release of basic fibroblast growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor
(SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2016-01-01)
Heparin-based hydrogels are attractive for controlled growth factor delivery, due to the native ability of heparin to bind and stabilize growth factors. Basic fibroblast growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor are heparin-binding growth factors that synergistically enhance angiogenesis. Mild, in situ encapsulation of both basic fibroblast growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor and subsequent bioactive dual release has not been demonstrated from heparin-crosslinked hydrogels, and the combined long-term delivery of both growth factors from biomaterials is still a major challenge. Both basic fibroblast growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor were encapsulated in poly(vinyl alcohol)-heparin hydrogels and demonstrated controlled release. A model cell line, BaF32, was used to show bioactivity of heparin and basic fibroblast growth factor released from the gels over multiple days. Released basic fibroblast growth factor promoted higher human umbilical vein endothelial cell outgrowth over 24 h and proliferation for 3 days than the poly(vinyl alcohol)-heparin hydrogels alone. The release of vascular endothelial growth factor from poly(vinyl alcohol)-heparin hydrogels promoted human umbilical vein endothelial cell outgrowth but not significant proliferation. Dual-growth factor release of basic fibroblast growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor from poly(vinyl alcohol)-heparin hydrogels resulted in a synergistic effect with significantly higher human umbilical vein endothelial cell outgrowth compared to basic fibroblast growth factor or vascular endothelial growth factor alone. Poly(vinyl alcohol)-heparin hydrogels allowed bioactive growth factor encapsulation and provided controlled release of multiple growth factors which is beneficial toward tissue regeneration applications.
Can We Produce Heparin/Heparan Sulfate Biomimetics Using "Mother-Nature" as the Gold Standard?
(MDPI AG, 2015-03-01)
Heparan sulfate (HS) and heparin are glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) that are heterogeneous in nature, not only due to differing disaccharide combinations, but also their sulfate modifications. HS is well known for its interactions with various growth factors and cytokines; and heparin for its clinical use as an anticoagulant. Due to their potential use in tissue regeneration; and the recent adverse events due to contamination of heparin; there is an increased surge to produce these GAGs on a commercial scale. The production of HS from natural sources is limited so strategies are being explored to be biomimetically produced via chemical; chemoenzymatic synthesis methods and through the recombinant expression of proteoglycans. This review details the most recent advances in the field of HS/heparin synthesis for the production of low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) and as a tool further our understanding of the interactions that occur between GAGs and growth factors and cytokines involved in tissue development and repair.
Compact SAWaerosol generator
In this work, we discuss and demonstrate the principle features of surface acoustic wave (SAW) aerosol generation, based on the properties of the fluid supply, the acoustic wave field and the acoustowetting phenomena. Furthermore, we demonstrate a compact SAW-based aerosol generator amenable to mass production fabricated using simple techniques including photolithography, computerized numerical control (CNC) milling and printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing. Using this device, we present comprehensive experimental results exploring the complexity of the acoustic atomization process and the influence of fluid supply position and geometry, SAW power and fluid flow rate on the device functionality. These factors in turn influence the droplet size distribution, measured here, that is important for applications including liquid chromatography, pulmonary therapies, thin film deposition and olfactory displays.
K(Ca)3.1 channel blockade attenuates microvascular remodelling in a large animal model of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-12-27)
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic progressive lung disease with limited therapeutic options and poor prognosis. IPF has been associated with aberrant vascular remodelling, however the role of vascular remodelling in pulmonary fibrosis is poorly understood. Here, we used a novel segmental challenge model of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in sheep to evaluate the remodelling of the pulmonary vasculature, and to investigate the changes to this remodelling after the administration of the KCa3.1 channel inhibitor, senicapoc, compared to the FDA-approved drug pirfenidone. We demonstrate that in vehicle-treated sheep, bleomycin-infused lung segments had significantly higher blood vessel density when compared to saline-infused control segments in the same sheep. These microvascular density changes were significantly attenuated by senicapoc treatment. The increases in vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression and endothelial cell proliferation in bleomycin-infused lung segments were significantly reduced in sheep treated with the senicapoc, when compared to vehicle-treated controls. These parameters were not significantly suppressed with pirfenidone treatment. Senicapoc treatment attenuated vascular remodelling through inhibition of capillary endothelial cell proliferation and VEGF expression. These findings suggest a potential new mode of action for the novel drug senicapoc which may contribute to its efficacy in combatting pulmonary fibrosis.
The application of finite element modelling based on clinical pQCT for classification of fracture status
(SPRINGER HEIDELBERG, 2019-02-01)
Fracture risk assessment using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) frequently fails to diagnose osteoporosis amongst individuals who later experience fragility fractures. Hence, more reliable techniques that improve the prediction of fracture risk are needed. In this study, we evaluated a finite element (FE) modelling framework based on clinical peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) imaging of the tibial epiphysis and diaphysis to predict the stiffness at these locations in compression, shear, torsion and bending. The ability of these properties to identify a group of women who had recently sustained a low-trauma fracture from an age- and weight-matched control group was determined and compared to clinical pQCT and DXA properties and structural properties based on composite beam theory. The predicted stiffnesses derived from the FE models and composite beam theory were significantly different (p < 0.05) between the control and fracture groups, whereas no meaningful differences were observed using DXA and for the stress-strain indices (SSIs) derived using pQCT. The diagnostic performance of each property was assessed by the odds ratio (OR) and the area under the receiver operating curve (AUC), and both were greatest for the FE-predicted shear stiffness (OR 16.09, 95% CI 2.52-102.56, p = 0.003) (AUC: 0.80, 95% CI 0.67-0.93). The clinical pQCT variable total density (ρtot) and a number of structural and FE-predicted variables had a similar probability of correct classification between the control and fracture groups (i.e. ORs and AUCs with mean values greater than 5.00 and 0.80, respectively). In general, the diagnostic characteristics were lower for variables derived using DXA and for the SSIs (i.e. ORs and AUCs with mean values of 1.65-2.98 and 0.64-0.71, respectively). For all properties considered, the trabecular-dominant tibial epiphysis exhibited enhanced classification characteristics, as compared to the cortical-dominant tibial diaphysis. The results of this study demonstrate that bone properties may be derived using FE modelling that have the potential to enhance fracture risk assessment using conventional pQCT or DXA instruments in clinical settings.