Dr Paola Campagnolo is currently Lecturer of Molecular Cardiovascular Biology in the School of Biosciences and Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. Paola graduated in Biotechnology at the University of Padua, Italy. She then moved to Bristol to work under the supervision of Prof Paolo Madeddu at Bristol Heart Institute. In 2009, Paola completed her PhD in Cardiovascular Biology working on the isolation of a patient derived pro-angiogenic progenitor cell population. Next, Paola joined Prof Qingbo Xu's the BHF Centre of Excellence at King's College London as a BHF Research Associate to explore the use of stem cells for the repopulation of vascular grafts. In 2013, Paola joined Prof Molly Stevens' group at the Department of Materials at Imperial College London to undertake the study of novel bio- and nano- materials for cardiovascular tissue engineering.Paola has published extensively in top journals in the field of cardiovascular biology and material science with a total of over 646 citations.Paola is part of the editorial board of Editorial Board of Cardiovascular Biologics and Regenerative Medicine (specialty section of Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine), act as a reviewer for several journals, including PLoSONE and ATVB and is part of the reviewing board for the French National Agency of Research and the Italian Ministry of Health.
My main research interests are (1) developing improved tissue engineered vascular grafts (2) study cell-cell and cell-material interaction in vascular cell within multicellular co-culture systems (3) long term bioreactor systems for multicellular cardiovascular constructs (4) epigenetic changes in cell-material interactions.
Within the University of Surrey:Dr Kevin Maringer (Department of Microbial Sciences, FHMS)Dr Eirini Velliou (Department of Chemical Engineering, FEPS)Dr Patrizia Camelliti (Department of Biochemical Sciences, FHMS)Dr Costantina Lekakou (Department of Mechanical Engineering, FEPS)
External collaborations:Prof Paolo Madeddu (University of Bristol)Prof Molly Stevens (Imperial College London)Prof Qingbo Xu (Kings College London)Dr Nicola Smart (University of Oxford)Dr Ciro Chiappini (King's College London)
Dengue is the most prevalent arthropod-borne viral disease affecting humans, with severe dengue typified by potentially fatal microvascular leakage and hypovolaemic shock. Blood vessels of the microvasculature are composed of a tubular structure of endothelial cells ensheathed by perivascular cells (pericytes). Pericytes support endothelial cell barrier formation and maintenance through paracrine and contact-mediated signalling, and are critical to microvascular integrity. Pericyte dysfunction has been linked to vascular leakage in noncommunicable pathologies such as diabetic retinopathy, but has never been linked to infection-related vascular leakage. Dengue vascular leakage has been shown to result in part from the direct action of the secreted dengue virus (DENV) non-structural protein NS1 on endothelial cells. Using primary human vascular cells, we show here that NS1 also causes pericyte dysfunction, and that NS1-induced endothelial hyperpermeability is more pronounced in the presence of pericytes. Notably, NS1 specifically disrupted the ability of pericytes to support endothelial cell function in a 3D microvascular assay, with no effect on pericyte viability or physiology. These effects are mediated at least in part through contact-independent paracrine signals involved in endothelial barrier maintenance by pericytes. We therefore identify a role for pericytes in amplifying NS1-induced microvascular hyperpermeability in severe dengue, and thus show that pericytes can play a critical role in the aetiology of an infectious vascular leakage syndrome. These findings open new avenues of research for the development of drugs and diagnostic assays for combating infection-induced vascular leakage, such as severe dengue.
The recent development of tissue engineering provides exciting new perspectives for the replacement of failing organs and the repair of damaged tissues. Perivascular cells, including vascular smooth muscle cells, pericytes and other tissue specific populations residing around blood vessels, have been isolated from many organs and are known to participate to the in situ repair process and angiogenesis. Their potential has been harnessed for cell therapy of numerous pathologies; however, in this Review we will discuss the potential of perivascular cells in the development of tissue engineering solutions for healthcare. We will examine their application in the engineering of vascular grafts, cardiac patches and bone substitutes as well as other tissue engineering applications and we will focus on their extensive use in the vascularization of engineered constructs. Additionally, we will discuss the emerging potential of human pericytes for the development of efficient, vascularized and non-immunogenic engineered constructs.
Despite the steady increase in the number of studies focusing on the development of tissue engineered constructs, solutions delivered to the clinic are still limited. Specifically, the lack of mature and functional vasculature greatly limits the size and complexity of vascular scaffold models. If tissue engineering aims to replace large portions of tissue with the intention of repairing significant defects, a more thorough understanding of the mechanisms and players regulating the angiogenic process is required in the field. This review will present the current material and technological advancements addressing the imperfect formation of mature blood vessels within tissue engineered structures.
Iron oxide nanostructures have been widely developed for biomedical applications, due to their magnetic properties and biocompatibility. In clinical application, the stabilization of these nanostructures against aggregation and non-specific interactions is typically achieved using weakly anchored polysaccharides, with better-defined and more strongly anchored synthetic polymers not commercially adopted due to complexity of synthesis and use. Here, we show for the first time stabilization and biocompatibilization of iron oxide nanoparticles by a synthetic homopolymer with strong surface anchoring and a history of clinical use in other applications, poly(2-methacryloyloxyethy phosphorylcholine) (poly(MPC)). For the commercially important case of spherical particles, binding of poly(MPC) to iron oxide surfaces and highly effective individualization of magnetite nanoparticles (20 nm) are demonstrated. Next-generation highaspect ratio nanowires (both magnetite/maghemite and core-shell iron/iron oxide) are furthermore stabilized by poly(MPC)-coating, with nanowire cytotoxicity at large concentrations significantly reduced. The synthesis approach is exploited to incorporate functionality into the poly(MPC) chain is demonstrated by random copolymerization with an alkyne-containing monomer for click-chemistry. Taking these results together, poly(MPC) homopolymers and random copolymers offer a significant improvement over current iron oxide nanoformulations, combining straightforward synthesis, strong surface-anchoring and well-defined molecular weight.
Finding a suitable cell source for endothelial cells (ECs) for cardiovascular regeneration is a challenging issue for regenerative medicine. In this paper, we describe a novel mechanism regulating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) differentiation into ECs, with a particular focus on miRNAs and their targets. We first established a protocol using collagen IV and VEGF to drive the functional differentiation of iPSCs into ECs and compared the miRNA signature of differentiated and undifferentiated cells. Among the miRNAs overrepresented in differentiated cells, we focused on microRNA-21 (miR-21) and studied its role in iPSC differentiation. Overexpression of miR-21 in predifferentiated iPSCs induced EC marker up-regulation and in vitro and in vivo capillary formation; accordingly, inhibition of miR-21 produced the opposite effects. Importantly, miR-21 overexpression increased TGF-2 mRNA and secreted protein level, consistent with the strong up-regulation of TGF-2 during iPSC differentiation. Indeed, treatment of iPSCs with TGF-2 induced EC marker expression and in vitro tube formation. Inhibition of SMAD3, a downstream effector of TGF-2, strongly decreased VE-cadherin expression. Furthermore,TGF-2 neutralization and knockdown inhibited miR-21-induced EC marker expression. Finally, we confirmed the PTEN/Akt pathway as a direct target of miR-21, and we showed that PTEN knockdown is required for miR-21-mediated endothelial differentiation. In conclusion, we elucidated a novel signaling pathway that promotes the differentiation of iPSC into functional ECs suitable for regenerative medicine applications.
The simple and effective approach of “dipping and drying” cotton yarn in a dispersion of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)-poly(styrene sulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) resulted in the development of a highly conductive and flexible cotton fibres. Subsequent polyaniline (PANi) deposition yielded electrodes with significant biocompatible and antibacterial properties that could be fabricated (alongside quasi-reference electrodes) into solid-state wearable pH sensors, which achieve rapid, selective, and Nernstian responses (-61 ± 2 mV pH-1) over a wide pH range (2.0 – 12.0), even in a pH-adjusted artificial sweat matrix. This development represents an important progression towards the realisation of real-time, on-body, wearable sensors.
The development of synthetic vascular grafts for coronary artery bypass is challenged by insufficient endothelialization, which exposes to the risk of thrombosis, and lack of native cellular constituents, which favours pathological remodelling. Here, an bifunctional electrospun poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) scaffold with potential for synthetic vascular graft applications is presented. This scaffold incorporates two tethered peptides: the osteopontin-derived peptide (Adh) on the ‘luminal’ side and a heparin-binding peptide (Hep) on the ‘abluminal’ side. Additionally, the ‘abluminal’ side of the scaffold is seeded with saphenous vein-derived pericytes (SVPs) as a source of pro-angiogenic growth factors. The Adh peptide significantly increase endothelial cell adhesion, while the Hep peptide promote accumulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secreted by SVPs. SVPs increase endothelial migration both in a transwell assay and a modified scratch assay performed on the PCL scaffold. Seeding of SVPs on the ‘abluminal’/Hep side of the scaffold further increase endothelial cell density, indicating a combinatory effect of the peptides and pericytes. Lastly, SVP-seeded scaffolds are preserved by freezing in a xeno-free medium, maintaining good cell viability and function. In conclusion, this engineered scaffold combines patient-derived pericytes and spatially organized functionalities, which synergistically increase endothelial cell density and growth factor retention.
Flexible wearable chemical sensors are emerging tools which target diagnosis and monitoring of medical conditions. One of the potential applications of wearable chemical sensors is therapeutic drug monitoring for drugs that have a narrow therapeutic range such as lithium. We have investigated the possibility of developing a fibre-based device for non-invasive lithium drug monitoring in interstitial fluid. A flexible cotton-based lithium sensor was coupled with a carbon fibre-based reference electrode to obtain a potentiometric device. In vitro reverse iontophoresis experiments were performed to extract Li+ from under porcine skin by applying a current density of 0.4 mA cm-2 via two electrodes. Carbon fibre-based reverse iontophoresis electrodes were fabricated and used instead of a conventional silver wire-based version and comparable results were obtained. The fibre-based Li+ sensor and reference electrodes were capable of determining the Li+ concentration in samples collected via reverse iontophoresis and the results compared well to those obtained by ion chromatography. Additionally, biocompatibility of the used materials have been tested. Promising results were obtained which confirm the possibility of monitoring lithium in interstitial fluid using a wearable sensor.