Tissue-specific bioscaffolds for adipose-derived stem/stromal cell expansion and delivery
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Decellularized adipose tissue (DAT) is a promising biomaterial for soft tissue regeneration, and it provides a highly conducive microenvironment for human adipose-derived stem/stromal cell (ASC) attachment, proliferation, and adipogenesis. This thesis focused on developing techniques to fabricate 3-D bioscaffolds from enzymatically-digested DAT as platforms for ASC culture and delivery in adipose tissue engineering and large-scale ASC expansion. Initial work investigated chemically crosslinked microcarriers fabricated from pepsin-digested DAT as injectable adipo-inductive substrates for ASCs. DAT microcarriers highly supported ASC adipogenesis compared to gelatin microcarriers in a CELLSPIN system, as confirmed by glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPDH) enzyme activity, lipid accumulation, and endpoint RT-PCR. ASCs cultured on DAT microcarriers in proliferation medium also had elevated PPARγ, C/EBPα, and LPL expression which suggested adipo-inductive properties. In vivo testing of the DAT microcarriers exhibited stable volume retention and enhanced cellular infiltration, tissue remodeling, and angiogenesis. Building from this work, non-chemically crosslinked porous foams and bead foams were fabricated from α-amylase-digested DAT for soft tissue regeneration. Foams were stable and strongly supported ASC adipogenesis based on GPDH activity and endpoint RT-PCR. PPARγ, C/EBPα, and LPL expression in ASCs cultured on the foams in proliferation media indicated adipo-inductive properties. Foams with Young’s moduli similar to human fat also influenced ASC adipogenesis by enhanced GPDH activity. In vivo adipogenesis accompanied by a potent angiogenic response and rapid resorption showed their potential use in wound healing applications. Finally, non-chemically crosslinked porous microcarriers synthesized from α-amylase-digested DAT were investigated for ASC expansion. DAT microcarriers remained stable in culture and supported significantly higher ASC proliferation compared to Cultispher-S microcarriers in a CELLSPIN system. ASC immunophenotype was preserved for all expanded groups, with reduced adhesion marker expression under dynamic conditions. DAT microcarrier expansion upregulated ASC expression of early adipogenic (PPARγ, LPL) and chondrogenic (COMP) markers without inducing a mature phenotype. DAT microcarrier expanded ASCs also showed similar levels of adipogenesis and osteogenesis compared to Cultispher-S despite a significantly higher population fold-change, and had the highest level of chondrogenesis among all groups. This study demonstrates the promising use of DAT microcarriers as a clinically relevant strategy for ASC expansion while maintaining multilineage differentiation capacity.