Biomimetic integrin-specific surface to direct osteoblastic function and tissue healing
Petrie, Timothy Andrew
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Current orthopedic implant technologies used suffer from slow rates of osseointegration, short lifetime, and lack of mechanical integrity as a result of poorly controlled cell-surface interactions. Recent biologically-inspired surface strategies (biomimetic) have focused on mimicking the biofunctionality of the extracellular matrix (ECM) by using short, adhesive oligopeptides, such as arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) present in numerous ECM components. However, these strategies have yielded mixed results in vivo and marginal bone healing responses. The central goal of this dissertation project was to engineer bioactive surfaces that specifically target integrin receptors important for osteogenic functions in order to improve bone tissue repair. In order to create integrin-specific interfaces, integrin-specific ligands reconstituting the fibronectin (FN) secondary/tertiary structure were first engineered and functionalized on material surfaces using several robust presentation schemes. We demonstrated that FN-mimetic-functionalized surfaces that directed α5β1 binding enhanced osteoblast and stromal cell integrin binding and adhesion, osteogenic signaling, and osteoblastic differentiation compared to various other RGD-based ligand-functionalized surfaces. Next, we investigated the effect of integrin-specific biointerfaces to modulate bone healing in a rat tibia implant bone model. We demonstrated, using a robust polymer brush system, that bioactive coatings on titanium implants that conferred high α5β1 integrin specificity in vitro enhanced bone formation and implant integration in vivo. Moreover, we showed that integrin specificity can be engineered using different immobilization schemes, including clinically-relevant ligand dip-coating, and promote the same robust in vivo effect. Furthermore, we investigate the synergistic roles of integrin specificity and ligand clustering on cell response by engineering biointerfaces presenting trimeric and pentameric "heads" of FNIII7-10 with nanoscale spacing. Integrin-specific ligand clustering supported α5β1-specific binding and cell adhesion and enhanced implant osseointegration in vivo compared to monovalent FNIII7-10 or non-functionalized biointerfaces. In summary, the FN-mimetic integrin-specific biointerfaces engineered in this thesis provide a clinically-relevant material surface strategy to modulate tissue healing responses. In addition, these results contribute to our greater understanding of how two specific material design parameters, integrin binding specificity and clustered ligand presentation, contribute individually and synergistically toward directing cell and tissue function.