The SIVB’s In Vitro Animal Cell Sciences Section (IVACS) held the Student and Post-Doctoral Oral Presentation Competition on Monday, June 10. Three contestants delivered professional presentations and answered multiple questions both from the attendees and judges of this session. The panel of IVACS expert judges included: Dr. Mae Ciancio and Dr. Michael J. Fay (Midwestern University), Dr. Michael Dame (University of Michigan), Dr. Brad L. Upham (Michigan State University), and Dr. John W. Harbell (JHarbell Consulting LLC), as well as the session moderators, Dr. Kolla Kristjansdottir (Midwestern University) and Dr. Addy Alt-Holland (Tufts University). Jia Xiong, from North Carolina State University, won the 1st place award for her presentation “Dietary supplementation with anthocyanin-rich berries promotes healthy muscle development gene expression profiles in diet-induced obese mice.” Alyssa G. Togliatti, from Midwestern University, won the 2nd place award with her presentation “Characterization of polymeric electrospun fibers for tissue engineering and biologic delivery.” Iara Cassandra Ibay, from Midwestern University, won the 3rd place award for her presentation “The role of Clostridium ramosum in promoting the development of obesity and increasing lipid absorption.” Certificates and monetary awards were presented to the three contestants during the IVACS Section Business Meeting. 

Congratulations to these three contestants for their fantastic presentations!

Submitted by Addy Alt-Holland and Kolla Kristjansdottir

First Place

Dietary Supplementation with Anthocyanin-rich Berries Promotes Healthy Muscle Development Gene Expression Profiles in Diet-induced Obese Mice

Anthocyanin pigments are one of flavonoid group of phytochemicals found in colorful fruits like berries, vegetables and other plants. Anthocyanins have demonstrated ability to protect against various human diseases related to increased production of free radicals and oxidative stress. In fact, other mechanisms of action of anthocyanin-rich diets are also responsible for health benefits, like protecting against from DNA cleavage, boosting production of cytokines and regulating immune responses, providing anti-inflammatory and vasoprotective activities, maintaining healthy body weight, and improving glucose and lipid metabolism (Lila MA, 2004, Skates E, et al. 2017). In previous research, diets normalized to 400 µg/g total anthocyanins derived from blackberry, black raspberry, blackcurrant, maqui berry, Concord grape, and blueberry improved body composition and reduced metabolic damage in DIO mouse model. These effects were most pronounced in the blueberry and blackcurrant groups (9.8%–10.2%, p < 0.05) (Overall John, et al. 2017). To understand the mechanisms leading to increased lean body mass in these animals, we analyzed gene expression profiles associated with muscle growth and development in this study. On average, berry diets with structurally diverse anthocyanin profiles were associated with increased abundance of MyoD1 (fold change 1.4-2.8), Myf6 (fold change 1.5-3.4), and Myog (fold change 1.5-3.2) transcriptional factors that coordinate myogenesis and repair of the muscle tissue. Gdf8, Trim63, and Fbxo32 genes associated with the muscle protein turnover showed a weak upregulation (fold change 1.4-1.8) similar to healthy controls. Thus, the return of gene expression in the berry-fed groups back to baseline expression seen in low fat controls demonstrated a dynamic modification of muscle development gene networks that likely contribute to improved metabolic outcomes observed in these animals.

Jia Xiong, North Carolina State University, Kannapolis, NC. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology, 55:S26-27, 2019

First Place

Dietary Supplementation with Anthocyanin-rich Berries Promotes Healthy Muscle Development Gene Expression Profiles in Diet-induced Obese Mice

Anthocyanin pigments are one of flavonoid group of phytochemicals found in colorful fruits like berries, vegetables and other plants. Anthocyanins have demonstrated ability to protect against various human diseases related to increased production of free radicals and oxidative stress. In fact, other mechanisms of action of anthocyanin-rich diets are also responsible for health benefits, like protecting against from DNA cleavage, boosting production of cytokines and regulating immune responses, providing anti-inflammatory and vasoprotective activities, maintaining healthy body weight, and improving glucose and lipid metabolism (Lila MA, 2004, Skates E, et al. 2017). In previous research, diets normalized to 400 µg/g total anthocyanins derived from blackberry, black raspberry, blackcurrant, maqui berry, Concord grape, and blueberry improved body composition and reduced metabolic damage in DIO mouse model. These effects were most pronounced in the blueberry and blackcurrant groups (9.8%–10.2%, p < 0.05) (Overall John, et al. 2017). To understand the mechanisms leading to increased lean body mass in these animals, we analyzed gene expression profiles associated with muscle growth and development in this study. On average, berry diets with structurally diverse anthocyanin profiles were associated with increased abundance of MyoD1 (fold change 1.4-2.8), Myf6 (fold change 1.5-3.4), and Myog (fold change 1.5-3.2) transcriptional factors that coordinate myogenesis and repair of the muscle tissue. Gdf8, Trim63, and Fbxo32 genes associated with the muscle protein turnover showed a weak upregulation (fold change 1.4-1.8) similar to healthy controls. Thus, the return of gene expression in the berry-fed groups back to baseline expression seen in low fat controls demonstrated a dynamic modification of muscle development gene networks that likely contribute to improved metabolic outcomes observed in these animals.

Jia Xiong, North Carolina State University, Kannapolis, NC. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology, 55:S26-27, 2019

Second Place

Characterization of Polymeric Electrospun Fibers for Tissue Engineering and Biologic Delivery

The degradation of cellular tissue is a significant limiting factor for viable treatment options in structural dysfunction disorders and injuries. Lacking the mechanical and physiological support of the extracellular matrix (ECM), the insulted tissue is functionally devoid of the necessary scaffolding and deprived of its innate biochemical signaling capabilities to support efficient cellular growth. Our research seeks to address this issue by fabricating electrospun fibrous polymeric networks to serve as synthetic scaffolding structures that mimic the biological role of the native ECM. To achieve this, we systematically altered electrospinning parameters to create consistent poly(glycerol-dodecanedioate) fibers with 1.0-2.0 micron diameters and various levels of fiber alignment. Once a reproducible protocol had been established, we expanded our methodology to successfully encapsulate plasmid DNA (pDNA) within core-sheath coaxially spun fibers and examined the passive diffusivity of the pDNA from the core over a 6-day timespan. Preliminary results revealed a binary release profile, suggesting the pDNA exponentially leached out of the polymeric sheath within the first hour and then progressed into a sustained release for the remaining 143 hours. We have found that our electrospun fiber mats support mammalian cell growth and are currently investigating the transfection activity of the functionalized fibers. Upon completion of this study, we aim to use our pDNA-loaded electrospun fibers as a biocompatible scaffold for various tissue engineering purposes.

Alyssa Togliatti, Midwestern University, Downers Grove, IL. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology, 55:S27, 2019

Second Place

Characterization of Polymeric Electrospun Fibers for Tissue Engineering and Biologic Delivery

The degradation of cellular tissue is a significant limiting factor for viable treatment options in structural dysfunction disorders and injuries. Lacking the mechanical and physiological support of the extracellular matrix (ECM), the insulted tissue is functionally devoid of the necessary scaffolding and deprived of its innate biochemical signaling capabilities to support efficient cellular growth. Our research seeks to address this issue by fabricating electrospun fibrous polymeric networks to serve as synthetic scaffolding structures that mimic the biological role of the native ECM. To achieve this, we systematically altered electrospinning parameters to create consistent poly(glycerol-dodecanedioate) fibers with 1.0-2.0 micron diameters and various levels of fiber alignment. Once a reproducible protocol had been established, we expanded our methodology to successfully encapsulate plasmid DNA (pDNA) within core-sheath coaxially spun fibers and examined the passive diffusivity of the pDNA from the core over a 6-day timespan. Preliminary results revealed a binary release profile, suggesting the pDNA exponentially leached out of the polymeric sheath within the first hour and then progressed into a sustained release for the remaining 143 hours. We have found that our electrospun fiber mats support mammalian cell growth and are currently investigating the transfection activity of the functionalized fibers. Upon completion of this study, we aim to use our pDNA-loaded electrospun fibers as a biocompatible scaffold for various tissue engineering purposes.

Alyssa Togliatti, Midwestern University, Downers Grove, IL. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology, 55:S27, 2019

Third Place

The Role of Clostridium ramosum in Promoting the Development of Obesity and Increasing Lipid Absorption

Several studies have demonstrated that gut microbiota composition is significantly altered by diet and metabolic disorders. However, it is still unclear whether these shifts or specific strains of bacteria have a causative role in the development of obesity and associated disorders. In particular, Clostridium ramosum has been correlated with obesity especially under high-fat diet conditions and may involve upregulation of the long chain fatty acid transporter Cd36 in the small intestine. However, a direct impact of C. ramosum on lipid absorption has not been definitively established and the exact mechanisms for this (including or beyond Cd36 regulation) need to be further explored. We sought to determine the functional impact of C. ramosum on obesity and lipid absorption and the mechanisms behind this process. To gather preliminary results, 6 mice fed a high fat diet (HFD) were supplemented with or without C. ramosum. Body weight was measured bi-weekly for 3 weeks and glucose tolerance test conducted after 3 weeks of C. ramosum supplementation. There was no significant difference in body weight or glucose tolerance between the two groups. Further analyses will examine potential differences in adiposity and lipid absorption upon continued supplementation with C. ramosum.

Iara Cassandra V. Ibay, Midwestern University, Downers Grove, IL.  In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology, 55:S43, 2019

Third Place

The Role of Clostridium ramosum in Promoting the Development of Obesity and Increasing Lipid Absorption

Several studies have demonstrated that gut microbiota composition is significantly altered by diet and metabolic disorders. However, it is still unclear whether these shifts or specific strains of bacteria have a causative role in the development of obesity and associated disorders. In particular, Clostridium ramosum has been correlated with obesity especially under high-fat diet conditions and may involve upregulation of the long chain fatty acid transporter Cd36 in the small intestine. However, a direct impact of C. ramosum on lipid absorption has not been definitively established and the exact mechanisms for this (including or beyond Cd36 regulation) need to be further explored. We sought to determine the functional impact of C. ramosum on obesity and lipid absorption and the mechanisms behind this process. To gather preliminary results, 6 mice fed a high fat diet (HFD) were supplemented with or without C. ramosum. Body weight was measured bi-weekly for 3 weeks and glucose tolerance test conducted after 3 weeks of C. ramosum supplementation. There was no significant difference in body weight or glucose tolerance between the two groups. Further analyses will examine potential differences in adiposity and lipid absorption upon continued supplementation with C. ramosum.

Iara Cassandra V. Ibay, Midwestern University, Downers Grove, IL.  In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology, 55:S43, 2019