Elastin-like Proteins to Support Peripheral Nerve Regeneration in Guidance Conduits.
ACS biomaterials science & engineering
2021; 7 (9): 4209-4220
Synthetic nerve guidance conduits (NGCs) offer an alternative to harvested nerve grafts for treating peripheral nerve injury (PNI). NGCs have been made from both naturally derived and synthesized materials. While naturally derived materials typically have an increased capacity for bioactivity, synthesized materials have better material control, including tunability and reproducibility. Protein engineering is an alternative strategy that can bridge the benefits of these two classes of materials by designing cell-responsive materials that are also systematically tunable and consistent. Here, we tested a recombinantly derived elastin-like protein (ELP) hydrogel as an intraluminal filler in a rat sciatic nerve injury model. We demonstrated that ELPs enhance the probability of forming a tissue bridge between the proximal and distal nerve stumps compared to an empty silicone conduit across the length of a 10 mm nerve gap. These tissue bridges have evidence of myelinated axons, and electrophysiology demonstrated that regenerated axons innervated distal muscle groups. Animals implanted with an ELP-filled conduit had statistically higher functional control at 6 weeks than those that had received an empty silicone conduit, as evaluated by the sciatic functional index. Taken together, our data support the conclusion that ELPs support peripheral nerve regeneration in acute complete transection injuries when used as an intraluminal filler. These results support the further study of protein engineered recombinant ELP hydrogels as a reproducible, off-the-shelf alternative for regeneration of peripheral nerves.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.0c01053
View details for PubMedID 34510904
Engineered Matrices Enable the Culture of Human Patient-Derived Intestinal Organoids.
Advanced science (Weinheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany)
2021; 8 (10): 2004705
Human intestinal organoids from primary human tissues have the potential to revolutionize personalized medicine and preclinical gastrointestinal disease models. A tunable, fully defined, designer matrix, termed hyaluronan elastin-like protein (HELP) is reported, which enables the formation, differentiation, and passaging of adult primary tissue-derived, epithelial-only intestinal organoids. HELP enables the encapsulation of dissociated patient-derived cells, which then undergo proliferation and formation of enteroids, spherical structures with polarized internal lumens. After 12 rounds of passaging, enteroid growth in HELP materials is found to be statistically similar to that in animal-derived matrices. HELP materials also support the differentiation of human enteroids into mature intestinal cell subtypes. HELP matrices allow stiffness, stress relaxation rate, and integrin-ligand concentration to be independently and quantitatively specified, enabling fundamental studies of organoid-matrix interactions and potential patient-specific optimization. Organoid formation in HELP materials is most robust in gels with stiffer moduli (G' ≈ 1 kPa), slower stress relaxation rate (t1/2 ≈ 18 h), and higher integrin ligand concentration (0.5 × 10-3-1 × 10-3 m RGD peptide). This material provides a promising in vitro model for further understanding intestinal development and disease in humans and a reproducible, biodegradable, minimal matrix with no animal-derived products or synthetic polyethylene glycol for potential clinical translation.
View details for DOI 10.1002/advs.202004705
View details for PubMedID 34026461
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8132048