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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Sep 2023 - 8 Sep 2023

Basic Science

In Vitro Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Inflammation/Inflammatory, Musculoskeletal Pain

2023 Sep 04

Acta Biomater


ECM-Engineered Electrospun Fibers with an Immune Cascade Effect for Inhibiting Tissue Fibrosis.


Qian M, Li S, Xi K, Tang J, Shen X, Liu Y, Guo R, Zhang N, Gu Y, Xu Y, Cui W, Chen L


Tissue regeneration/fibrosis after injury is intricately regulated by the immune cascade reaction and extracellular matrix (ECM). Dysregulated cascade signal could jeopardize tissue homeostasis leading to fibrosis. Bioactive scaffolds mimicking natural ECM microstructure and chemistry could regulate the cascade reaction to achieve tissue regeneration. The current study constructed an ECM-engineered micro/nanofibrous scaffold using self-assembled nanofibrous collagen and decorin (DCN)-loaded microfibers to regulate the immune cascade reaction. The ECM-engineered scaffold promoted anti-inflammatory and pro-regenerative effects, M2 polarization of macrophages, by nanofibrous collagen. The ECM-engineered scaffold could release DCN to inhibit inflammation-associated fibrous angiogenesis. Yet, to prevent excessive M2 activity leading to tissue fibrosis, controlled release of DCN was expected to elicit M1 activity and achieve M1/M2 balance in the repair process. Regulated cascade reaction guided favorable crosstalk between macrophages, endothelial cells and fibroblasts by proximity. Additionally, decorin could also antagonize TGF-β1 via TGF-β/Smad3 pathway to suppress fibrotic activity of fibroblasts. Hence, ECM-engineered scaffolds could exert effective regulation of the immune cascade reaction by microstructure and DCN release and achieve the balance between tissue fibrosis and regeneration. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: : With the incidence of up to 74.6%, failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) has been a lingering issue in spine surgery, which poses a heavy socio-economic burden to society. Epidural fibrosis is believed to be responsible for the onset of FBSS. Current biomaterial-based strategies treating epidural fibrosis mainly rely on physical barriers and unidirectional suppression of inflammation. Regulation of the immune cascade reaction for inhibiting fibrosis has not been widely studied. Based on the simultaneous regulation of M1/M2 polarization and intercellular crosstalk, the ECM-engineered micro/nanofibrous scaffolds constructed in the current study could exert an immune cascade effect to coordinate tissue regeneration and inhibit fibrosis. This finding makes a significant contribution in the development of a treatment for epidural fibrosis and FBSS.