Staff member publications
Dirisala A, Li J, Gonzalez-Carter D, Wang Z, (2023). Editorial: Delivery systems in biologics-based therapeutics Frontiers In Bioengineering And Biotechnology 11, 1274210-1274210
Li, JH, Tomasello, A, Requena, M, Canals, P, Tiberi, R, Galve, I, Engel, E, Kallmes, DF, Castano, O, Ribo, M, (2023). Trackability of distal access catheters: an in vitro quantitative evaluation of navigation strategies Journal Of Neurointerventional Surgery 15, 496-501
Background In mechanical thrombectomy (MT), distal access catheters (DACs) are tracked through the vascular anatomy to reach the occlusion site. The inability of DACs to reach the occlusion site has been reported as a predictor of unsuccessful recanalization. This study aims to provide insight into how to navigate devices through the vascular anatomy with minimal track forces, since higher forces may imply more risk of vascular injuries. Methods We designed an experimental setup to monitor DAC track forces when navigating through an in vitro anatomical model. Experiments were recorded to study mechanical behaviors such as tension buildup against vessel walls, DAC buckling, and abrupt advancements. A multiple regression analysis was performed to predict track forces from the catheters' design specifications. Results DACs were successfully delivered to the target M1 in 60 of 63 in vitro experiments (95.2%). Compared to navigation with unsupported DAC, the concomitant coaxial use of a microcatheter/microguidewire and microcatheter/stent retriever anchoring significantly reduced the track forces by about 63% and 77%, respectively (p<0.01). The presence of the braid pattern in the reinforcement significantly reduced the track forces regardless of the technique used (p<0.05). Combined coil and braid reinforcement configuration, as compared with coil alone, and a thinner distal wall were predictors of lower track force when navigating with unsupported DAC. Conclusions The use of microcatheter and stent retriever facilitate smooth navigation of DACs through the vascular tortuosity to reach the occlusion site, which in turn improves the reliability of tracking when positioning the DAC closer to the thrombus interface.
JTD Keywords: catheter, navigation, stroke, thrombectomy, Catheter, Navigation, Stroke, Thrombectomy, Vessel wall
The TGF-β1 transcription factor SMAD3 is epigenetically repressed in tumour-associated fibroblasts (TAFs) from lung squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) but not adenocarcinoma (ADC) patients, which elicits a compensatory increase in SMAD2 that renders SCC-TAFs less fibrotic. Here we examined the effects of altered SMAD2/3 in fibroblast migration and its impact on the desmoplastic stroma formation in lung cancer.We used a microfluidic device to examine descriptors of early protrusions and subsequent migration in 3D collagen gels upon knocking down SMAD2 or SMAD3 by shRNA in control fibroblasts and TAFs.High SMAD3 conditions as in shSMAD2 fibroblasts and ADC-TAFs exhibited a migratory advantage in terms of protrusions (fewer and longer) and migration (faster and more directional) selectively without TGF-β1 along with Erk1/2 hyperactivation. This enhanced migration was abrogated by TGF-β1 as well as low glucose medium and the MEK inhibitor Trametinib. In contrast, high SMAD2 fibroblasts were poorly responsive to TGF-β1, high glucose and Trametinib, exhibiting impaired migration in all conditions.The basal migration advantage of high SMAD3 fibroblasts provides a straightforward mechanism underlying the larger accumulation of TAFs previously reported in ADC compared to SCC. Moreover, our results encourage using MEK inhibitors in ADC-TAFs but not SCC-TAFs.© 2022. The Author(s).
JTD Keywords: cancer, cell, degradation, nintedanib, osteoblast migration, phenotype, progression, protrusion dynamics, smad3, Growth-factor-beta
Li, Jiahui, Tiberi, Riccardo, Canals, Pere, Vargas, Daniel, Castaño, Oscar, Molina, Marc, Tomasello, Alejandro, Ribo, Marc, (2023). Double stent-retriever as the first-line approach in mechanical thrombectomy: a randomized in vitro evaluation Journal Of Neurointerventional Surgery ,
BackgroundA repeated number of passes during mechanical thrombectomy leads to worse clinical outcomes in acute ischemic stroke. Initial experiences with the simultaneous double stent-retriever (double-SR) technique as the first-line treatment showed promising safety and efficacy results.ObjectiveTo characterize the potential benefits of using the double-SR as first-line technique as compared with the traditional single-SR approach.MethodsThree types of clot analogs (soft, moderately stiff, and stiff) were used to create terminal internal carotid artery (T-ICA=44) and middle cerebral artery (MCA=88) occlusions in an in vitro neurovascular model. Sixty-six cases were randomized into each treatment arm: single-SR or double-SR, in combination with a 0.071" distal aspiration catheter. A total of 132 in vitro thrombectomies were performed. Primary endpoints were the rate of first-pass recanalization (%FPR) and procedural-related distal emboli.ResultsFPR was achieved in 42% of the cases. Overall, double-SR achieved a significantly higher %FPR than single-SR (52% vs 33%, P=0.035). Both techniques showed similar %FPR in T-ICA occlusions (single vs double: 23% vs 27%, P=0.728). Double-SR significantly outperformed single-SR in MCA occlusions (63% vs 38%, P=0.019), most notably in saddle occlusions (64% vs 14%, P=0.011), although no significant differences were found in single-branch occlusions (64% vs 50%, P=0.275). Double-SR reduced the maximal size of the clot fragments migrating distally (Feret diameter=1.08±0.65 mm vs 2.05±1.14 mm, P=0.038).ConclusionsThis randomized in vitro evaluation demonstrates that the front-line double-SR technique is more effective than single-SR in achieving FPR when treating MCA bifurcation occlusions that present saddle thrombus.
JTD Keywords: endovascular treatment, guidelines, health, stroke, technique, thrombectomy, Acute ischemic-stroke, Stroke, Thrombectomy
Bilgin, C, Hutar, J, Li, JH, Castano, O, Ribo, M, Kallmes, DF, (2022). Catheter design primer for neurointerventionalists Journal Of Neurointerventional Surgery ,
Neurovascular catheter technology has rapidly evolved over the past decade. While performance characteristics are well known to the practitioner, the design features of these new-generation catheters and their implications on performance metrics remain a mystery to most clinicians due to the limited number of available resources. This knowledge gap hampers informed device choices and also limits collaboration between clinicians and engineers. To aid fellow neurointerventionalists, in this primer we have summarized the basic concepts of catheter design and construction.
JTD Keywords: catheter, device, Catheter, Device, Technology
Around 30-40% of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) undergoing curative resection of the primary tumour will develop metastases in the subsequent years1. Therapies to prevent disease relapse remain an unmet medical need. Here we uncover the identity and features of the residual tumour cells responsible for CRC relapse. An analysis of single-cell transcriptomes of samples from patients with CRC revealed that the majority of genes associated with a poor prognosis are expressed by a unique tumour cell population that we named high-relapse cells (HRCs). We established a human-like mouse model of microsatellite-stable CRC that undergoes metastatic relapse after surgical resection of the primary tumour. Residual HRCs occult in mouse livers after primary CRC surgery gave rise to multiple cell types over time, including LGR5+ stem-like tumour cells2-4, and caused overt metastatic disease. Using Emp1 (encoding epithelial membrane protein 1) as a marker gene for HRCs, we tracked and selectively eliminated this cell population. Genetic ablation of EMP1high cells prevented metastatic recurrence and mice remained disease-free after surgery. We also found that HRC-rich micrometastases were infiltrated with T cells, yet became progressively immune-excluded during outgrowth. Treatment with neoadjuvant immunotherapy eliminated residual metastatic cells and prevented mice from relapsing after surgery. Together, our findings reveal the cell-state dynamics of residual disease in CRC and anticipate that therapies targeting HRCs may help to avoid metastatic relapse.© 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.
JTD Keywords: colonization, defines, human colon, mutations, plasticity, retrieval, stem-cells, subtypes, underlie, Comprehensive molecular characterization
Li, Jiahui, Castaño, Oscar, Tomasello, Alejandro, de Dios Lascuevas, Marta, Canals, Pere, Engel, Elisabeth, Ribo, Marc, (2022). Catheter tip distensibility substantially influences the aspiration force of thrombectomy devices Journal Of Neurointerventional Surgery 14, 63-67
BackgroundA direct aspiration first pass thrombectomy (ADAPT) is a fast-growing technique for which a broad catalog of catheters that provide a wide range of aspiration forces can be used. We aimed to characterize different catheters' aspiration performance on stiff clots in an in vitro vascular model. We hypothesized that labeled catheter inner diameter (labeled-ID) is not the only parameter that affects the aspiration force (asp-F) and that thrombus–catheter tip interaction and distensibility also play a major role.MethodsWe designed an experimental setup consisting of a 3D-printed carotid artery immersed in a water deposit. We measured asp-F and distensibility of catheter tips when performing ADAPT on a stiff clot analog larger than catheter labeled-ID. Correlations between asp-F, catheter ID, and tip distensibility were statistically assessed.ResultsExperimental asp-F and catheter labeled-ID were correlated (r=0.9601; P<0.01). The relative difference between experimental and theoretical asp-F (obtained by the product of the tip’s section area by the vacuum pressure) correlated with tip’s distensibility (r=0.9050; P<0.01), evidencing that ADAPT performance is highly influenced by catheter tip shape-adaptability to the clot and that the effective ID (eff-ID) may differ from the labeled-ID specified by manufacturers. Eff-ID showed the highest correlation with experimental asp-F (r=0.9944; P<0.01), confirming that eff-ID rather than labeled-ID should be considered to better estimate the device efficiency.ConclusionsCatheter tip distensibility can induce a significant impact on ADAPT performance when retrieving a stiff clot larger than the device ID. Our findings might contribute to optimizing thrombectomy strategies and the design of novel aspiration catheters.
JTD Keywords: catheter, endovascular thrombectomy, intervention, pressure, stroke, technique, thrombectomy, Acute ischemic-stroke, Catheter, Thrombectomy
Li J, Castaño O, Ribo M, (2022). Response to letter: How much will a catheter tip expand in aspiration thrombectomy? Journal Of Neurointerventional Surgery 14,
Micro- and nanotexturization of surfaces can give to the parts different advanced functionalities, such as superhydrophobicity, self-cleaning, or antibacterial capabilities. These advanced properties in combination with the biocompatibility of Liquid Silicone Rubber are an interesting approach for obtaining high-performance medical devices. The industrial production of surface textures in polymeric materials is through the replication technique, and the best option to attain a high production rate is injection molding. Moreover, its low viscosity during processing can provide an accurate replication capacity by the easy filling by capillarity of the microtextures. An innovative replicating technique for Liquid Silicone Rubber is presented by studying the replication of different shaped textures within a diameter range of between 2 and 50 mu m. The copying process consists in the overmolding of a textured polymeric inlay obtained by nanoimprint lithography. At the end of the process, a textured part is obtained, while the imprinted film remains in the mold. The injection molding parameters are optimized to increase the replication accuracy, and their effect on texture replicability is analyzed and discussed. Finally, it is shown that the textured surfaces improve their wettability behavior, which is a necessary and important characteristic in the development of biomedical devices.
JTD Keywords: Cross-linking density, Injection molding, Microtextures, Nanoimprint lithography, Polymeric inlays, Silicone rubber, Stamp, Wettability
The histone demethylase KDM1A is a multi- faceted regulator of vital developmental processes, including mesodermal and cardiac tube formation during gastrulation. However, it is unknown whether the fine-tuning of KDM1A splicing isoforms, already shown to regulate neuronal maturation, is crucial for the specification and maintenance of cell identity during cardiogenesis. Here, we discovered a temporal modulation of ubKDM1A and KDM1A+2a during human and mice fetal cardiac development and evaluated their impact on the regulation of cardiac differentiation. We revealed a severely impaired cardiac differentiation in KDM1A(-/-) hESCs that can be rescued by re-expressing ubKDM1A or catalytically impaired ubKDM1A-K661A, but not by KDM1A+2a or KDM1A+2a-K661A. Conversely, KDM1A+2a(-/-) hESCs give rise to functional cardiac cells, displaying increased beating amplitude and frequency and enhanced expression of critical cardiogenic markers. Our findings prove the existence of a divergent scaffolding role of KDM1A splice variants, independent of their enzymatic activity, during hESC differentiation into cardiac cells.
JTD Keywords: cell biology, molecular mechanism of gene regulation, omics, Bhlh transcription factor, Corest, Differentiation, Dna, Embryonic stem-cells, Heart, Lsd1, Phosphorylation, Proteins, Stem cells research, Swirm domain
Conversion of CO2 into valuable chemicals is not only a very challenging topic but also a socially demanding issue. In this work, permanently polarized hydroxyapatite obtained using a thermal stimulated polarization process is proposed as a highly selective catalyst for green production of ethanol starting from CO2 and CH4.
The enhanced catalytic activity of permanently polarized hydroxyapatite, which is achieved using a thermally stimulated polarization process, largely depends on both the experimental conditions used to prepare crystalline hydroxyapatite from its calcium and phosphate precursors and the polarization process parameters. A mineral similar to brushite, which is an apatitic phase that can evolve to hydroxyapatite, is found at the surface of highly crystalline hydroxyapatite. It appears after chemical precipitation and hydrothermal treatment performed at 150 degrees C for 24 h followed by a sinterization at 1000 degrees C and a polarization treatment by applying a voltage of 500 Vat high temperature. Both the high crystallinity and the presence of brushite-like phase on the electrophotocatalyst affect the nitrogen and carbon fixation under mild reaction conditions (95 degrees C and 6 bar) and the synthesis of glycine and alanine from a simple gas mixture containing N-2, CO2, CH4 and H2O. Thus, the Gly/Ala ratio can be customized by controlling the presence of brushite on the surface of the catalyst, enabling to develop new strategies to regulate the production of amino acids by nitrogen and carbon fixation. (C) 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
JTD Keywords: Amino acids, Brushite, Carbon, Carbon dioxide fixation, Catalyst activity, Catalytic apatites, Chemical precipitation, Crystalline hydroxyapatite, Crystallinity, Decomposition, Enhanced catalytic activity, Experimental conditions, Heterogeneous catalysis, High crystallinity, Hydrothermal synthesis, Hydrothermal treatments, Hydroxyapatite, Lactic-acid, Mild reaction conditions, Molecular nitrogen fixation, Nitrogen, Nitrogen fixation, Phosphate, Polarization, Precipitation (chemical), Process parameters, Thermally stimulated polarization
This work reports a simple and scalable strategy to prepare a series of thermoresponsive polyurethanes synthesized via copolymerization of dicyclohexyl diisocyanate with glycerol ethoxylate in a single one-pot system. These polyurethanes exhibit lower critical solution temperatures (LCST) at 57 degrees C. The LCST of synthesized polyurethane was determined from Dynamic Scanning Calorimetry and UV-vis measurements. Both the LCST and T-g of synthesized polyurethane was tuned by varying the ratio between hard segment (dicyclohexyl diisocyanate) and soft segment (glycerol ethoxylate). Thus, T-g values could be tuned from -54.6 degrees C to -19.9 degrees C for samples with different flexibility. The swelling and deswelling studies were done at room temperature and above the LCST respectively. The results showed that the swelling ratio increases with the increase of soft segment (glycerol ethoxylate) in synthesized polyurethanes. Furthermore, the mechanical properties of the membrane were studied by universal tensile testing measurements. Specifically, stress at break values varied from 0.35 +/- 0.07 MPa to 0.91 +/- 0.15 MPa for the tested membranes, whereas elongation at break data ranged from 101.9 +/- 20.9 % to 192.4 +/- 24.4 %, and Young's modulus varied from 0.35 +/- 0.03 MPa to 1.85 +/- 0.19 MPa. Tensile strength of the films increased with the increase of the hard segment and elongation at break decreased.
JTD Keywords: copolymerization, critical solution temperatures, polyurethanes, tensile strength, Biodegradable polyurethanes, Copolymerization, Critical solution temperatures, Glycol), Polymers, Polyurethanes, Solvent-free, Tensile strength, Thermoresponsive materials
Development of smart functionalized materials for tissue engineering has attracted significant attention in recent years. In this work we have functionalized a free-standing film of isotactic polypropylene (i-PP), a synthetic polymer that is typically used for biomedical applications (e.g. fabrication of implants), for engineering a 3D all-polymer flexible interface that enhances cell proliferation by a factor of ca. three. A hierarchical construction process consisting of three steps was engineered as follows: (1) functionalization of i-PP by applying a plasma treatment, resulting in i-PPf; (2) i-PPf surface coating with a layer of polyhydroxymethy-3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene nanoparticles (PHMeEDOT NPs) by in situ chemical oxidative polymerization of HMeEDOT; and (3) deposition on the previously activated and PHMeEDOT NPs coated i-PP film (i-PPf/NP) of a graft conjugated copolymer, having a poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) backbone, and randomly distributed short poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) side chains (PEDOT-g-PCL), as a coating layer of ∼9 μm in thickness. The properties of the resulting bioplatform, which can be defined as a robust macroscopic composite coated with a “molecular composite”, were investigated in detail, and both adhesion and proliferation of two human cell lines have been evaluated, as well. The results demonstrate that the incorporation of the PEDOT-g-PCL layer significantly improves cell attachment and cell growth not only when compared to i-PP but also with respect to the same platform coated with only PEDOT, constructed in a similar manner, as a control.
The physiological activity of proteins is often studied with loss-of-function genetic approaches, but the corresponding phenotypes develop slowly and can be confounding. Photopharmacology allows direct, fast, and reversible control of endogenous protein activity, with spatiotemporal resolution set by the illumination method. Here, we combine a photoswitchable allosteric modulator (alloswitch) and 2-photon excitation using pulsed near-infrared lasers to reversibly silence metabotropic glutamate 5 (mGlu5) receptor activity in intact brain tissue. Endogenous receptors can be photoactivated in neurons and astrocytes with pharmacological selectivity and with an axial resolution between 5 and 10 µm. Thus, 2-photon pharmacology using alloswitch allows investigating mGlu5-dependent processes in wild-type animals, including synaptic formation and plasticity, and signaling pathways from intracellular organelles.
JTD Keywords: Photopharmacology, Photoactivation, Pharmacological selectivity, Functional silencing, 2-photon pharmacology
The principles underlying the biomechanics of morphogenesis are largely unknown. Epiboly is an essential embryonic event in which three tissues coordinate to direct the expansion of the blastoderm. How and where forces are generated during epiboly, and how these are globally coupled remains elusive. Here we developed a method, hydrodynamic regression (HR), to infer 3D pressure fields, mechanical power, and cortical surface tension profiles. HR is based on velocity measurements retrieved from 2D+T microscopy and their hydrodynamic modeling. We applied HR to identify biomechanically active structures and changes in cortex local tension during epiboly in zebrafish. Based on our results, we propose a novel physical description for epiboly, where tissue movements are directed by a polarized gradient of cortical tension. We found that this gradient relies on local contractile forces at the cortex, differences in elastic properties between cortex components and the passive transmission of forces within the yolk cell. All in all, our work identifies a novel way to physically regulate concerted cellular movements that might be instrumental for the mechanical control of many morphogenetic processes.
JTD Keywords: Epiboly, Hydrodynamics, Mechanics, Morphogenesis, Zebrafish
A fundamental feature of multicellular organisms is their ability to self-repair wounds through the movement of epithelial cells into the damaged area. This collective cellular movement is commonly attributed to a combination of cell crawling and 'purse-string' contraction of a supracellular actomyosin ring. Here we show by direct experimental measurement that these two mechanisms are insufficient to explain force patterns observed during wound closure. At early stages of the process, leading actin protrusions generate traction forces that point away from the wound, showing that wound closure is initially driven by cell crawling. At later stages, we observed unanticipated patterns of traction forces pointing towards the wound. Such patterns have strong force components that are both radial and tangential to the wound. We show that these force components arise from tensions transmitted by a heterogeneous actomyosin ring to the underlying substrate through focal adhesions. The structural and mechanical organization reported here provides cells with a mechanism to close the wound by cooperatively compressing the underlying substrate.
Free-standing and supported nanomembranes have been prepared by spin-coating mixtures of a semiconducting polythiophene (P3TMA) derivative and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Thermal studies of TPU:P3TMA blends with 60 : 40, 50 : 50, 40 : 60 and 20 : 80 weight ratios indicate a partial miscibility of the two components. Analysis of the glass transition temperatures allowed us to identify the highest miscibility for the blend with a 40 : 60 weight ratio, this composition being used to prepare both self-standing and supported nanomembranes. The thickness of ultra-thin films made with the 40 : 60 blend ranged from 11 to 93 nm, while the average roughness was 16.3 +/- 0.8 nm. In these films the P3TMA-rich phase forms granules, which are dispersed throughout the rest of the film. Quantitative nanomechanical mapping has been used to determine the Young's modulus value by applying the Derjanguin-Muller-Toporov (DMT) contact mechanics model and the adhesion force of ultra-thin films. The modulus depends on the thickness of the films, values determined for the thicker (80-140 nm)/thinner (10-40 nm) regions of TPU, P3TMA and blend samples being 25/35 MPa, 3.5/12 GPa and 0.9/1.7 GPa, respectively. In contrast the adhesion force is homogeneous through the whole surface of the TPU and P3TMA films (average values: 7.2 and 5.0 nN, respectively), whereas for the blend it depends on the phase distribution. Thus, the adhesion force is higher for the TPU-rich domains than for the P3TMA-rich domains. Finally, the utility of the nanomembranes for tissue engineering applications has been proved by cellular proliferation assays. Results show that the blend is more active as a cellular matrix than each of the two individual polymers.
We report on the development of micro/nanofabrication processes to create hierarchical surface topographies that expand from 50 nm to microns in size on different materials. Three different approaches (named FIB1, FIB2, and EBL) that combine a variety of techniques such as photolithography, reactive ion etching, focused ion beam lithography, electron beam lithography, and soft lithography were developed, each one providing different advantages and disadvantages. The EBL approach was employed to fabricate substrates comprising channels with features between 200 nm and 10 Î¼m in size on polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), which were then used to investigate the independent or competitive effects of micro- and nanotopographies on cell adhesion and morphology. Rat mesenchymal stem cells (rMSCs) were cultured on four different substrates including 10 Î¼m wide and 500 nm deep channels separated by 10 Î¼m distances (MICRO), 200 nm wide and 100 nm deep nanochannels separated by 200 nm distances (NANO), their combination in parallel (PARAL), and in a perpendicular direction (PERP). Rat MSCs behaved differently on all tested substrates with a high degree of alignment (as measured by both number of aligned cells and average angle) on both NANO and MICRO. Furthermore, cells exhibited the highest level of alignment on PARAL, suggesting a synergetic effect of the two scales of topographies. On the other hand, cells on PERP exhibited the lowest alignment and a consistent change in morphology over time that seemed to be the result of interactions with both micro- and nanochannels positioned in the perpendicular direction, also suggesting a competitive effect of the topographies.
Chen, Zaozao, Lessey, Elizabeth, Berginski, Matthew E., Cao, Li, Li, Jonathan, Trepat, Xavier, Itano, Michelle, Gomez, Shawn M., Kapustina, Maryna, Huang, Cai, Burridge, Keith, Truskey, George, Jacobson, Ken, (2013). Gleevec, an Abl family inhibitor, produces a profound change in cell shape and migration PLoS ONE 8, (1), e52233
The issue of how contractility and adhesion are related to cell shape and migration pattern remains largely unresolved. In this paper we report that Gleevec (Imatinib
Shan, X., Díez-Pérez, I., Wang, L., Wiktor, P., Gu, Y., Zhang, L., Wang, W., Lu, J., Wang, S., Gong, Q., Li, J., Tao, N., (2012). Imaging the electrocatalytic activity of single nanoparticles Nature Nanotechnology , 7, (10), 668-672
The electrocatalytic properties of nanoparticles depend on their size, shape and composition. These properties are typically probed by measuring the total electrocatalytic reaction current of a large number of nanoparticles, but this approach is time-consuming and can only measure the average catalytic activity of the nanoparticles under study. However, the identification of new catalysts requires the ability to rapidly measure the properties of nanoparticles synthesized under various conditions and, ideally, to measure the electrocatalytic activity of individual nanoparticles. Here, we show that a plasmonic-based electrochemical current-imaging technique can simultaneously image and quantify the electrocatalytic reactions of an array of 1.6Â Ã—Â 10 5 platinum nanoparticles printed on an electrode surface, which could facilitate high-throughput screening of the catalytic activities of nanoparticles. We also show that the approach can be used to image the electrocatalytic reaction current and measure the cyclic voltammograms of single nanoparticles.