Selecting the correct cellular model for assessing of the biological response of collagen-based biomaterials.

05 Jun 2018

Accurate evaluation of the biological performance of biomaterials requires the correct assessment of their native-like cell ligation properties. However, cell attachment studies often overlook the details of the substrate-cell binding mechanisms, be they integrin-mediated or non-specific, and ignore the class- and species-specificities of the cell adhesion receptor involved. In this work we have used different collagen (Col) substrates (fibrillar collagens I, II and III and network-forming Col IV), containing different affinity cell-recognition motifs, to establish the influence of the receptor identity and species-specificity on collagen-cell interactive properties. Receptor expression was varied by using cells of different origin, or transfecting collagen-binding integrins into integrin-null cells. These include mouse C2C12 myoblasts transfected with human α1, α2, α10 or α11; human fibrosarcoma HT1080 cells which constitutively express only human α2β1, and rat glioma Rugli cells, with only rat α1β1. Using these lines, the nature of integrin binding sites was studied in order to delineate the bioactivity of different collagen substrates. Integrin ligation was studied on collagen coatings alongside synthetic (GFOGER/GLOGEN) and Toolkit (Col II-28/Col III-7) triple-helical peptides to evaluate (1) their affinity towards different integrins and (2) to confirm the activity of the inserted integrin in the transfected cells. Thin films of dermal and tendon Col I were used to evaluate the influence of the carbodiimide (EDC)-based treatment on the cellular response on Col of different origin. The results showed that the binding properties of transfected C2C12 cells to collagens depend on the identity of inserted integrin. Similar ligation characteristics were observed using α1+ and α10+ cells, but these were distinct from the similar binding features of α2+ and α11+ cells. Recombinant human and rat-α1 I domain binding to collagens and peptides correlated with the cell adhesion results, showing receptor class- and species-specificities. The understanding of the physiologically relevant cell anchorage characteristics of bio-constructs may assist in the selection of (1) the optimum collagen source for cellular supports and (2) the correct cellular model for their biological assessment. This, in turn, may allow reliable prediction of the biological performance of bio-scaffolds in vivo for specific TE applications. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Integrins play a vital role in cellular responses to environmental cues during early-stage cell-substrate interaction. We describe physiologically relevant cell anchorage to collagen substrates that present different affinity cell-recognition motifs, to provide experimental tools to assist in understanding integrin binding. Using different cell types and recombinant integrin α1-I-domains, we found that cellular response was highly dependent on collagen type, origin and EDC-crosslinking status, as well as on the integrin class and species of origin. This comprehensive study establishes selectivity amongst the four collagen-binding integrins and species-specific properties that together may influence choice of cell type and receptor in different experimental settings. This work offers key guidance in selecting of the correct cellular model for the biological testing of collagen-based biomaterials.