Diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) are chronic wounds, with 20% of cases resulting in amputation, despite intervention. A recently approved tissue engineering product-a cell-free collagen-glycosaminoglycan (GAG) scaffold-demonstrates 50% success, motivating its functionalization with extracellular matrix (ECM). Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology reprograms somatic cells into an embryonic-like state. Recent findings describe how iPSCs-derived fibroblasts ("post-iPSF") are proangiogenic, produce more ECM than their somatic precursors ("pre-iPSF"), and their ECM has characteristics of foetal ECM (a wound regeneration advantage, as fetuses heal scar-free). ECM production is 45% higher from post-iPSF and has favorable components (e.g., Collagen I and III, and fibronectin). Herein, a freeze-dried scaffold using ECM grown by post-iPSF cells (Post-iPSF Coll) is developed and tested vs precursors ECM-activated scaffolds (Pre-iPSF Coll). When seeded with healthy or DFU fibroblasts, both ECM-derived scaffolds have more diverse ECM and more robust immune responses to cues. Post-iPSF-Coll had higher GAG, higher cell content, higher Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) in DFUs, and higher Interleukin-1-receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) vs. pre-iPSF Coll. This work constitutes the first step in exploiting ECM from iPSF for tissue engineering scaffolds.
Keywords: ECM; fibroblasts; iPSC; regeneration; scaffolds.
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