The human physique is an extremely designed machine, and mechanical processes akin to these in the lymphatic system play main roles in sustaining wholesome tissue and organs.
Donny Hanjaya-Putra is an assistant professor whose work lies at the intersection of engineering and medication. He research the lymphatic system — the a part of the immune system that rids the physique of poisons and different undesirable supplies. He appears to be like at how one can restore dysfunctional lymphatic networks, that are related to a big selection of illnesses, together with most cancers, heart problems, diabetes, neurological situations and metabolic syndromes.
Now Hanjaya-Putra and his workforce — bioengineering doctoral scholar Laura Alderfer, together with Elizabeth Russo, a 2019 graduate; Adriana Archilla, a scholar from Syracuse University; and Brian Coe, class of ’19 — have demonstrated how extracellular matrix stiffness impacts lymphatic vessel perform.
The workforce is combining this data with polymer science and mechanical engineering to construct new lymphatic cord-like buildings, which assist restore regular habits to dysfunctional lymphatic programs and permit the physique to combat the illness.
“Cells can sense mechanical stimuli, such as matrix stiffness, and this activates certain genes to promote lymphatic formation,” mentioned Hanjaya-Putra. “We used hydrogels made from hyaluronic acid (a natural sugar molecule) to enhance the cell-binding motif with appropriate mechanical stimuli (matrix stiffness) in a 2D model of lymphatic vessels and successfully stimulated new lymphatic vessel formations.”
The workforce has printed its findings in The FASEB Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
This kind of analysis is just potential, Hanjaya-Putra mentioned, due to advances in imaging and stem cell biology.
“Traditionally, medical students spent hours studying the cardiovascular system, but not as much emphasis was placed on the lymphatic system,” mentioned Hanjaya-Putra. “The purpose, largely, was as a consequence of the problem in visualizing lymphatic vessels, that are clear.
“Recent advances have allowed us to use specific cell markers to distinguish between blood endothelial cells and lymphatic endothelial cells, so we can now see and study these very important networks in vitro and in vivo.”
Hanjaya-Putra and his workforce at the moment are growing hydrogels that may be implanted beneath the pores and skin to advertise wound therapeutic in addition to gels that may be injected into the physique at the web site of damage.
Alderfer, the lead writer on the FASEB article, was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grant to check at the University of Helsinki. She can be learning lymphatic vessel formation in vivo in wound and cardiac damage fashions with Kari Alitalo, a international chief in the analysis of lymphatic vessels and translational most cancers biology.
Materials supplied by University of Notre Dame. Original written by Nina Welding. Note: Content could also be edited for type and size.