Designing topographically textured microparticles for induction and modulation of osteogenesis in mesenchymal stem cell engineering.


Mesenchymal stem cells are the focus of intense research in bone development and regeneration. The potential of microparticles as modulating moieties of osteogenic response by utilizing their architectural features is demonstrated herein. Topographically textured microparticles of varying microscale features are produced by exploiting phase-separation of a readily soluble sacrificial component from polylactic acid. The influence of varying topographical features on primary human mesenchymal stem cell attachment, proliferation and markers of osteogenesis is investigated. In the absence of osteoinductive supplements, cells cultured on textured microparticles exhibit notably increased expression of osteogenic markers relative to conventional smooth microparticles. They also exhibit varying morphological, attachment and proliferation responses. Significantly altered gene expression and metabolic profiles are observed, with varying histological characteristics in vivo. This study highlights how tailoring topographical design offers cell-instructive 3D microenvironments which allow manipulation of stem cell fate by eliciting the desired downstream response without use of exogenous osteoinductive factors.





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Publication Info

Amer, Mahetab H, Marta Alvarez-Paino, Jane McLaren, Francesco Pappalardo, Sara Trujillo, Jing Qian Wong, Sumana Shrestha, Salah Abdelrazig, et al. (2021). Designing topographically textured microparticles for induction and modulation of osteogenesis in mesenchymal stem cell engineering. Biomaterials, 266. p. 120450. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2020.120450 Retrieved from

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David Needham

Professor Emeritus in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Professor Needham has been at Duke since 1987 and over the years has developed many collaborative and scholarly relationships across the campus and Medical School. He holds Faculty and membership appointments as: Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Center for Bioinspired Materials and Material Systems; Center for Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering; Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center; and the Duke Cancer Institute.  Internationally, he holds a joint appointment as Professor of Translational Therapeutics in the School of Pharmacy, at the University of Nottingham, UK.  He also collaborates with preclinical researchers at the Erasmus University Medical Center, in Rotterdam, NL. 
For the past 35 years Needham's Lab has developed and used a platform technology of micropipette manipulation to manipulate single and pairs of micro bubbles, droplets and particles in order to assess their behavior in well-defined fluids and solution conditions.  Recently his research and development has focused on nucleation, growth and stability of nanoparticles.  Applications of these fundamental particle and interfacial studies have primarily focused on advanced drug delivery treatments for cancer and now COVID19 with a nasal and throat spray prophylactic and early treatment regimen.

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