The rationale for the use of polymer–ceramic composites for bone regeneration stems from the natural composition of bone, with collagen type I and biological apatite as the main organic and inorganic constituents, respectively. In the present study composite materials of PolyActive™ (PA), a poly(ethylene oxide terephthalate)/poly(butylene terephtalate) co-polymer, and hydroxyapatite (HA) at a weight ratio of 85:15 were prepared by rapid prototyping (RP) using two routes. In the first approach pre-extruded composite filaments of PA–HA were processed using three-dimensional fibre deposition (3DF) (conventional composite scaffolds). In the second approach PA scaffolds were fabricated using 3DF and combined with HA pillars produced inside stereolithographic moulds that fitted inside the pores of the PA three-dimensional structure (assembled composite scaffolds). Analysis of calcium and phosphate release in a simulated physiological solution, not containing calcium or phosphate, revealed significantly higher values for the HA pillars compared with other scaffolds. Release in simulated body fluid saturated with respect to HA did not show significant differences among the different scaffolds. Human mesenchymal stromal cells were cultured on polymer (3DF), conventional composite (3DF-HA) and assembled composite (HA assembled in 3DF) scaffolds and assessed for morphology, metabolic activity, DNA amount and gene expression of osteogenic markers using real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Scanning electron microscopy images showed that the cells attached to and infiltrated all the scaffolds. Assembled composites had a higher metabolic activity compared with 3DF-HA scaffolds while no significant differences were observed in DNA amounts. Gene expression of osteopontin in the assembled composite was significantly higher compared with the conventional composites. The strategy of composite fabrication by assembly appears to be a promising alternative to the conventional composite fabrication route for scaffolds for bone regeneration.
Songbirds communicate by learned vocalizations with concomitant changes in neurophysiological and genomic activities in discrete parts of the brain. Here, we tested a novel implementation of diffusive optical imaging (also known as diffuse optical imaging, DOI) for monitoring brain physiology associated with vocal signal perception. DOI noninvasively measures brain activity using red and near-infrared light delivered through optic fibers (optodes) resting on the scalp. DOI does not harm subjects, so it raises the possibility of repeatedly measuring brain activity and the effects of accumulated experience in the same subject over an entire life span, all while leaving tissue intact for further study. We developed a custom-made apparatus for interfacing optodes to the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) head using 3D modeling software and rapid prototyping technology, and applied it to record responses to presentations of birdsong in isoflurane-anesthetized zebra finches. We discovered a subtle but significant difference between the hemoglobin spectra of zebra finches and mammals which has a major impact in how hemodynamic responses are interpreted in the zebra finch. Our measured responses to birdsong playback were robust, highly repeatable, and readily observed in single trials. Responses were complex in shape and closely paralleled responses described in mammals. They were localized to the caudal medial portion of the brain, consistent with response localization from prior gene expression, electrophysiological, and functional magnetic resonance imaging studies. These results define an approach for collecting neurophysiological data from songbirds that should be applicable to diverse species and adaptable for studies in awake behaving animals.
Chen, S.-H., Wang, X.-L., Xie, X.-H., Zheng, L.-Z., Yao, D., Wang, D.-P., Leng, Y., Zhang, G., and Qin, L.
Acta Biomaterialia, 2012 Aug., v. 8, no. 8, p. 3128-3137.
calcium, messenger RNA, rabbits, genes, orthopedics, bone formation, bioengineering, bioactive properties, gene expression regulation, bone marrow, stem cells, mineralization, cultured cells, gene expression, and tricalcium phosphate
A local delivery system with sustained and efficient release of therapeutic agents from an appropriate carrier is desirable for orthopedic applications. Novel composite scaffolds made of poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) with tricalcium phosphate (PLGA/TCP) were fabricated by an advanced low-temperature rapid prototyping technique, which incorporated either endogenous bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) (PLGA/TCP/BMP-2) or phytomolecule icaritin (ICT) (PLGA/TCP/ICT) at low, middle and high doses. PLGA/TCP served as control. In vitro degradation, osteogenesis and release tests showed statistical differences among PLGA/TCP/ICT, PLGA/TCP and PLGA/TCP/BMP-2 groups, where PLGA/TCP/ICT had the desired slow release of bioactive icaritin in a dose-dependent manner, whereas there was almost no BMP-2 release from the PLGA/TCP/BMP-2 scaffolds. PLGA/TCP/ICT significantly increased more ALP activity, upregulated mRNA expression of osteogenic genes and enhanced calcium deposition and mineralization in rabbit bone marrow stem cells cultured on scaffolds compared with the other two groups. These results indicate the desired degradation rate, osteogenic capability and release property in PLGA/TCP/ICT composite scaffold, as icaritin preserved its bioactivity and structure after incorporation, while PLGA/TCP/BMP-2 did not show an initially expected osteogenic potential, owing to loss of the original bioactivity of BMP-2 during its incorporation and fabrication procedure. The results suggest that PLGA/TCP composite scaffolds incorporating osteogenic ICT might be a promising approach for bone tissue bioengineering and regeneration.