Browsing by Author "Farrukh, Aleeza"
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- ItemBifunctional hydrogels containing the laminin motif IKVAV promote neurogenesis(Amsterdam : Elsevier, 2017) Farrukh, Aleeza; Ortega, Felipe; Fan, Wenqiang; Marichal, Nicolás; Paez, Julieta I.; Berninger, Benedikt; del Campo, Aránzazu; Salierno, Marcelo J.Engineering of biomaterials with specific biological properties has gained momentum as a means to control stem cell behavior. Here, we address the effect of bifunctionalized hydrogels comprising polylysine (PL) and a 19-mer peptide containing the laminin motif IKVAV (IKVAV) on embryonic and adult neuronal progenitor cells under different stiffness regimes. Neuronal differentiation of embryonic and adult neural progenitors was accelerated by adjusting the gel stiffness to 2 kPa and 20 kPa, respectively.While gels containing IKVAV or PL alone failed to support long-term cell adhesion, in bifunctional gels, IKVAV synergized with PL to promote differentiation and formation of focal adhesions containing b1-integrin in embryonic cortical neurons. Furthermore, in adult neural stem cell culture, bifunctionalized gels promoted neurogenesis via the expansion of neurogenic clones. These data highlight the potential of synthetic matrices to steer stem and progenitor cell behavior via defined mechano-adhesive properties.
- ItemBifunctional poly(acrylamide) hydrogels through orthogonal coupling chemistries(Washington D.C. : American Chemical Society, 2017) Farrukh, Aleeza; Paez, Julieta I.; Salierno, Marcelo; Fan, Wenqiang; Berninger, Benedikt; del Campo, AránzazuBiomaterials for cell culture allowing simple and quantitative presentation of instructive cues enable rationalization of the interplay between cells and their surrounding microenvironment. Poly(acrylamide) (PAAm) hydrogels are popular 2D-model substrates for this purpose. However, quantitative and reproducible biofunctionalization of PAAm hydrogels with multiple ligands in a trustable, controlled, and independent fashion is not trivial. Here, we describe a method for bifunctional modification of PAAm hydrogels with thioland amine- containing biomolecules with controlled densities in an independent, orthogonal manner. We developed copolymer networks of AAm with 9% acrylic acid and 2% N-(4-(5-(methylsulfonyl)-1,3,4-oxadiazol-2-yl)phenyl)acrylamide. The covalent binding of thiol- and amine- containing chromophores at tunable concentrations was demonstrated and quantified by UV spectroscopy. The morphology, mechanical properties, and homogeneity of the copolymerized hydrogels were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, dynamic mechanical analysis, and confocal microscopy studies. Our copolymer hydrogels were bifunctionalized with polylysine and a laminin-mimetic peptide using the specific chemistries. We analyzed the effect of binding protocol of the two components in the maturation of cultured postmitotic cortical neurons. Our substrates supported neuronal attachment, proliferation, and neuronal differentiation. We found that neurons cultured on our hydrogels bifunctionalized with ligand-specific chemistries in a sequential fashion exhibited higher maturation at comparable culture times than using a simultaneous bifunctionalization strategy, displaying a higher number of neurites, branches, and dendritic filopodia. These results demonstrate the relevance of quantitative and optimized coupling chemistries for the performance of simple biomaterials and with sensitive cell types.
- ItemCompliant Substrates Enhance Macrophage Cytokine Release and NLRP3 Inflammasome Formation During Their Pro-Inflammatory Response(2021) Escolano, Joan-Carles; Taubenberger, Anna V.; Abuhattum, Shada; Schweitzer, Christine; Farrukh, Aleeza; del Campo, Aránzazu; Bryant, Clare E.; Guck, JochenImmune cells process a myriad of biochemical signals but their function and behavior are also determined by mechanical cues. Macrophages are no exception to this. Being present in all types of tissues, macrophages are exposed to environments of varying stiffness, which can be further altered under pathological conditions. While it is becoming increasingly clear that macrophages are mechanosensitive, it remains poorly understood how mechanical cues modulate their inflammatory response. Here we report that substrate stiffness influences the expression of pro-inflammatory genes and the formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, leading to changes in the secreted protein levels of the cytokines IL-1b and IL-6. Using polyacrylamide hydrogels of tunable elastic moduli between 0.2 and 33.1 kPa, we found that bone marrow-derived macrophages adopted a less spread and rounder morphology on compliant compared to stiff substrates. Upon LPS priming, the expression levels of the gene encoding for TNF-a were higher on more compliant hydrogels. When additionally stimulating macrophages with the ionophore nigericin, we observed an enhanced formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, increased levels of cell death, and higher secreted protein levels of IL-1b and IL-6 on compliant substrates. The upregulation of inflammasome formation on compliant substrates was not primarily attributed to the decreased cell spreading, since spatially confining cells on micropatterns led to a reduction of inflammasome-positive cells compared to well-spread cells. Finally, interfering with actomyosin contractility diminished the differences in inflammasome formation between compliant and stiff substrates. In summary, we show that substrate stiffness modulates the pro-inflammatory response of macrophages, that the NLRP3 inflammasome is one of the components affected by macrophage mechanosensing, and a role for actomyosin contractility in this mechanosensory response. Thus, our results contribute to a better understanding of how microenvironment stiffness affects macrophage behavior, which might be relevant in diseases where tissue stiffness is altered and might potentially provide a basis for new strategies to modulate inflammatory responses.
- ItemLight-Regulated Angiogenesis via a Phototriggerable VEGF Peptidomimetic(Weinheim : Wiley-VCH, 2021) Nair, Roshna V.; Farrukh, Aleeza; del Campo, AránzazuThe application of growth factor based therapies in regenerative medicine is limited by the high cost, fast degradation kinetics, and the multiple functions of these molecules in the cell, which requires regulated delivery to minimize side effects. Here a photoactivatable peptidomimetic of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that allows the light-controlled presentation of angiogenic signals to endothelial cells embedded in hydrogel matrices is presented. A photoresponsive analog of the 15-mer peptidomimetic Ac-KLTWQELYQLKYKGI-NH2 (abbreviated PQK) is prepared by introducing a 3-(4,5-dimethoxy-2-nitrophenyl)-2-butyl (DMNPB) photoremovable protecting group at the Trp4 residue. This modification inhibits the angiogenic potential of the peptide temporally. Light exposure of PQK modified hydrogels provide instructive cues to embedded endothelial cells and promote angiogenesis at the illuminated sites of the 3D culture, with the possibility of spatial control. PQK modified photoresponsive biomaterials offer an attractive approach for the dosed delivery and spatial control of pro-angiogenic factors to support regulated vascular growth by just using light as an external trigger.
- ItemMicroenvironments designed to support growth and function of neuronal cells(Lausanne : Frontiers Media, 2018) Farrukh, Aleeza; Zhao, Shifang; del Campo, AránzazuStrategies for neural tissue repair heavily depend on our ability to temporally reconstruct the natural cellular microenvironment of neural cells. Biomaterials play a fundamental role in this context, as they provide the mechanical support for cells to attach and migrate to the injury site, as well as fundamental signals for differentiation. This review describes how different cellular processes (attachment, proliferation, and (directional) migration and differentiation) have been supported by different material parameters, in vitro and in vivo. Although incipient guidelines for biomaterial design become visible, literature in the field remains rather phenomenological. As in other fields of tissue regeneration, progress will depend on more systematic studies on cell-materials response, better understanding on how cells behave and understand signals in their natural milieu from neurobiology studies, and the translation of this knowledge into engineered microenvironments for clinical use.
- ItemThiol-Methylsulfone Based Hydrogels: Enhanced Control on Gelation Kinetics for 3D Cell Encapsulation(Washington, DC : American Chemical Society, 2019) Farrukh, Aleeza; Włodarczyk-Biegun, Malgorzata K.; del Campo, AránzazuHydrogels are useful temporal matrices for cell culture technologies. The successful mixing and encapsulation of cells within the gel requires the selection of efficient and cytocompatible gelation reactions occurring in the minute timescale under physiological conditions. The thiol-methylsulfonyl (MS) chemical reaction is introduced here as a novel chemistry to encapsulate cells in polymeric matrices. Thiol-MS crosslinking does not require a light activation step and can occur within the seconds-to-minutes timescale by adjusting the pH in the physiological range 8.0-6.6. This reaction is cytocompatible and the reaction product is hydrolytically stable in cell culture media up to 4 weeks. Cell encapsulation protocols enabling comfortable handling and yielding homogenous distribution of the embedded cells are described. All these features are relevant for the application of this crosslinking reaction to biomedical scenarios. Finally, this manuscript also compares the performance of thiol-MS hydrogels with the established thiol-maleimide and thiol-vinylsulfone hydrogels. The benefit of thiol-MS crosslinking in terms of control over hydrogelation kinetics is demonstrated.