Seeram Ramakrishna, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Nanofibers & Nanotechnology, National University of Singapore
Biomaterials: Future Perspectives
From the perspective of thousands of years of history, the role of biomaterials in healthcare and wellbeing of humans is at best accidental. However, since 1970s with the introduction of national regulatory frameworks for medical devices, the biomaterials field evolved and reinforced with strong science and engineering understandings. The biomaterials field also flourished on the backdrop of growing need for better medical devices and medical treatments, and sustained investments in research and development. It is estimated that the world market size for medical devices is ~300 billion dollars and for biomaterials it is ~30 billion dollars. Healthcare is now one of the fastest growing sectors worldwide. Legions of scientists, engineers, and clinicians worldwide are attempting to design and develop newer medical treatments involving tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, nanotech enabled drug delivery, and stem cells. They are also engineering ex-vivo tissues and disease models to evaluate therapeutic drugs, biomolecules, and medical treatments. Engineered nanoparticles and nanofiber scaffolds have emerged as important class of biomaterials as many see them as necessary in creating suitable biomimetic micro-environment for engineering and regeneration of various tissues, expansion & differentiation of stem cells, site specific controlled delivery of biomolecules & drugs, and faster & accurate diagnostics. This lecture will capture the progress made thus far in pre-clinical and clinical studies. Further this lecture will discuss the way forward for translation of bench side research into the bed side practice. This lecture also seeks to identify newer opportunities for biomaterials beyond the medical devices.
Aswath Balakrishnan, Kapaettu Satyamoorthy and Manjunath B Joshi
Insulin resistance is a hall mark of metabolic disorders such as diabetes. Reduced insulin response in vasculature leads to disruption of IR/Akt/eNOS signaling pathway resulting in vasoconstriction and subsequently to cardiovascular diseases. Recent studies have demonstrated that inflammatory regulator interleukin-6 (IL-6), as one of the potential mediators that can link chronic inflammation with insulin resistance. Accumulating evidences suggest a significant role of epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation in progression of metabolic disorders. Hence the present study aimed to understand the role of epigenetic mechanisms involved during IL-6 induced vascular insulin resistance and its consequences in cardiovascular diseases.
Materials and Methods
Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and Human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HDMEC) were used for this study. Endothelial cells were treated in presence or absence of IL-6 (20ng/ml) for 36 hours and followed by insulin (100nM) stimulation for 15 minutes. Using immunoblotting, cell lysates were stained for phosphor- and total Akt levels to measure insulin resistance. To investigate changes in DNA methylation, cells were treated with or without neutrophil conditioned medium (NCM) as a physiological source of inflammation or IL-6 (at various concentrations) for 36 hours. Genomic DNA was processed for HPLC analysis for methyl cytosine content and cell lysates were analyzed for DNMT1 (DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase 1) and DNMT3A (DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase 3A) levels using immunoblotting.
Endothelial cells stimulated with insulin exhibited an increase in phosphorylation of Aktser 473 in serum free conditions but such insulin response was not observed in cells treated with IL-6, suggesting chronic exposure of endothelial cells to IL-6 leads to insulin resistance. HPLC analysis for global DNA methylation resulted in decreased levels of 5-methyl cytosine in cells treated with pro-inflammatory molecules (both by NCM and IL-6) as compared to untreated controls. Subsequently, analysis in cells treated with IL-6 showed a significant decrease in DNMT1 levels but not in DNMT3A. Other pro-inflammatory marker such as TNF-Î± did not exhibit such changes.
Our study suggests: a) Chronic treatment of endothelial cells with IL-6 results in insulin resistance b) Neutrophil conditioned medium and IL-6 decreases methyl cytosine levels c) DNMT1 but not DNMT3a levels are reduced in cells treated with IL-6.