The synergistic effect of low oxygen tension and macromolecular crowding in the development of extracellular matrix-rich tendon equivalents
De Pieri, Andrea
Kelly, Jack L.
Zeugolis, Dimitrios I.
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Tsiapalis, Dimitrios, De Pieri, Andrea, Spanoudes, Kyriakos, Sallent, Ignacio, Kearns, Stephen, Kelly, Jack L., Raghunath, Michael, Zeugolis, Dimitrios I. (2020). The synergistic effect of low oxygen tension and macromolecular crowding in the development of extracellular matrix-rich tendon equivalents. Biofabrication, 12(2), 025018. doi:10.1088/1758-5090/ab6412
Cellular therapies play an important role in tendon tissue engineering, with tenocytes being the most prominent and potent cell population available. However, for the development of a rich extracellular matrix tenocyte-assembled tendon equivalent, prolonged in vitro culture is required, which is associated with phenotypic drift. Recapitulation of tendon tissue microenvironment in vitro with cues that enhance and accelerate extracellular matrix synthesis and deposition, whilst maintaining tenocyte phenotype, may lead to functional cell therapies. Herein, we assessed the synergistic effect of low oxygen tension (enhances extracellular matrix synthesis) and macromolecular crowding (enhances extracellular matrix deposition) in human tenocyte culture. Protein analysis demonstrated that human tenocytes at 2% oxygen tension and with 50 μg ml−1 carrageenan (macromolecular crowder used) significantly increased synthesis and deposition of collagen types I, III, V and VI. Gene analysis at day 7 illustrated that human tenocytes at 2% oxygen tension and with 50 μg ml−1 carrageenan significantly increased the expression of prolyl 4-hydroxylase subunit alpha 1, procollagen-lysine 2- oxoglutarate 5-dioxygenase 2, scleraxis, tenomodulin and elastin, whilst chondrogenic (e.g. runt-related transcription factor 2, cartilage oligomeric matrix protein, aggrecan) and osteogenic (e.g. secreted phosphoprotein 1, bone gamma-carboxyglutamate protein) trans-differentiation markers were significantly down-regulated or remained unchanged. Collectively, our data clearly illustrates the beneficial synergistic effect of low oxygen tension and macromolecular crowding in the accelerated development of tissue equivalents.