WFU Department of Physics Wake Forest University


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WFU Physics Colloquium

TITLE: Influence of Nanofiber Architecture and Mechanics on Lung Myofibroblasts

SPEAKER: Professor Joel Berry ,

Department of Biomedical Engineering
The University of Alabama at Birmingham

TIME: Wednesday October 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM

PLACE: Room 101 Olin Physical Laboratory

Refreshments will be served at 3:30 PM in the Olin Lounge. All interested persons are cordially invited to attend.


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, lethal fibrotic lung disease with no proven pharmacological therapies at present. It is characterized by a progressive increase in extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition (primarily collagens) in the lung parenchyma, ultimately destroying normal lung architecture and function for gas exchange. Myofibroblasts are the primary cellular source for the ECM synthesis in fibrotic lungs. These cells are key effectors in lung fibrosis. Myofibroblasts are characterized by de novo synthesis of alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) and acquisition of contractile activity similar to smooth muscle cells. In response to alveolar epithelial injury, normal resident fibroblasts in the lung interstitium are activated and differentiated into myofibroblasts. In this current study, we examine fiber topology at the fibroblastic foci as a regulator of myofibroblastic phenotype. Electrospun nanofibers are comparable in size to collagen fibrils. We electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibers with defined topological features. We observed that normal lung fibroblastsgrown on aligned PCL fibers expressed a significantly higher level of alpha-SMA than cells grown on random fibers, suggesting that the matrix fiber orientation regulates myofibroblast differentiation.

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100 Olin Physical Laboratory
Wake Forest University
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