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Basement Membrane Mimics of Biofunctionalized Nanofibers for a Bipolar-Cultured Human Primary Alveolar-Capillary Barrier Model

Nishiguchi, Akihiro, Singh, Smriti, Wessling, Matthias, Kirkpatrick, Charles J., Möller, Martin
Biomacromolecules 2017 v.18 no.3 pp. 719-727
adsorption, basement membrane, biodegradability, chemical elements, drugs, epithelial cells, humans, ligands, lung function, medicine, models, nanofibers, permeability, pollutants, polyesters, polyethylene glycol, porous media
In vitro reconstruction of an alveolar barrier for modeling normal lung functions and pathological events serve as reproducible, high-throughput pharmaceutical platforms for drug discovery, diagnosis, and regenerative medicine. Despite much effort, the reconstruction of organ-level alveolar barrier functions has failed due to the lack of structural similarity to the natural basement membrane, functionalization with specific ligands for alveolar cell function, the use of primary cells and biodegradability. Here we report a bipolar cultured alveolar-capillary barrier model of human primary cells supported by a basement membrane mimics of fully synthetic bifunctional nanofibers. One-step electrospinning process using a bioresorbable polyester and multifunctional star-shaped polyethylene glycols (sPEG) enables the fabrication of an ultrathin nanofiber mesh with interconnected pores. The nanofiber mesh possessed mechanical stability against cyclic expansion as seen in the lung in vivo. The sPEGs as an additive provide biofunctionality to fibers through the conjugation of peptide to the nanofibers and hydrophilization to prevent unspecific protein adsorption. Biofunctionalized nanofiber meshes facilitated bipolar cultivation of endothelial and epithelial cells with fundamental alveolar functionality and showed higher permeability for molecules compared to microporous films. This nanofiber mesh for a bipolar cultured barrier have the potential to promote growth of an organ-level barrier model for modeling pathological conditions and evaluating drug efficacy, environmental pollutants, and nanotoxicology.