A proteomic analysis of engineered tendon formation under dynamic mechanical loading in vitro
Yongkang Jianga, 1, Hongwei Liub, 1, Hong Lic, d, Fangjun Wangb, Kai Chengb, Guangdong Zhoua, c, Wenjie Zhanga, c, Mingliang Yeb, Yinlin Caoa, c, Wei Liua, c, , and Hanfa Zoub
Previous studies have demonstrated the beneficial effect of mechanical loading on in vitro tendon engineering. To understand the mechanism, human tenocytes and polyglycolic acid long fibers were used for in vitro tendon engineering in a bioreactor system for 12 weeks with and without dynamic loading. The engineered neo-tendons were subjected to proteomic analysis using mass spectrometry along with shotgun strategy. As expected, mechanical loading resulted in a more mature tendon tissue characterized by a firmer tissue texture and densely deposited matrices which formed longitudinally aligned collagen fibers in a highly compact fashion. In contrast, non-loaded neo-tendon revealed loosely and less deposited matrices in a relatively less organized pattern. Proteins isolated from two groups of tissues exhibited similar distribution of isoeletric point and molecular weight indicating the similarity and comparability of the tissue specimens. Further, proteomic analysis showed that total 758 proteins were identified from both groups with 194 and 177 proteins uniquely presented in loaded and non-loaded tendons, respectively. Comparison of loaded and non-loaded tendons revealed 195 significantly up-regulated proteins and 189 significantly down-regulated proteins. The differentially expressed proteins could generally be classified into the categories of extracellular matrix, intra-cellular signaling, cytoskeleton and inflammatory response. Among them, significantly up-regulated collagens I and VI, MMP-14, WNT5A, microfilament molecules and some inflammatory factors suggest that the possible mechanism for this particular biological phenomenon may involve increased production of tendon specific matrices, enhanced cross-link of collagens and other matrix molecules, proper matrix remodeling for tissue maturation and mechanotransduction (including non-canonical Wnt signal pathway) mediated other biological processes.