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    The extracellular matrix (ECM) is dynamically reorganized during wound healing. Concomitantly, recruited monocytes differentiate into macrophages. However, the role of the wound's ECM during this transition remain to be fully understood. Fibronectin is a multifunctional glycoprotein present in early wound ECM with a potential immunomodulatory role during monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation. Hence, to investigate the impact of fibronectin during this differentiation step, 3D fibrillar collagen type I networks with or without fibronectin-functionalization were engineered with defined topology (fibril and pore diameter: 0.8 μm; 7 μm) and amount of adsorbed fibronectin (0.15 μg per μg collagen). Primary, human monocytes were then differentiated into macrophages inside these networks. The immunological imprinting of the resulting macrophages was monitored by means of the expression of FABP4, CLEC4E, SLC2A6, and SOD2 which discriminate naïve and tolerized macrophages, as well pro-inflammatory (M1) and anti-inflammatory (M2) macrophage polarization. The analyses indicate that fibronectin-functionalization of collagen I networks induces macrophage tolerance rather than M1 or M2 macrophage phenotypes. This finding was confirmed by release profiles of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL6, IL8, CXCL10, and IL10. Nevertheless, upon LPS challenge, immune suppression by fibronectin was overridden since these macrophages could then deploy an efficient immune response. Our results therefore provide new perspectives in biomaterial science of wound healing scaffolds and the design of instructive materials for human monocyte-derived cells. Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


    Colin Logie, Tom van Schaik, Tilo Pompe, Katja Pietsch. Fibronectin-functionalization of 3D collagen networks supports immune tolerance and inflammation suppression in human monocyte-derived macrophages. Biomaterials. 2021 Jan;268:120498

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    PMID: 33276199

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