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Vertebral compression fractures (VCFs), the most common fragility fractures, account for approximately 700,000 injuries per year. Since open surgery involves morbidity and implant failure in the osteoporotic patient population, a new minimally invasive biological solution to vertebral bone repair is needed. Previously, we showed that adipose-derived stem(More)
This study explores a novel method to quantify in vivo soft tissue biomechanics from endoscopic confocal fluorescence microscope images of externally loaded biological tissues. A custom algorithm based on normalized cross-correlation is used to track fluorescently labeled cells within soft tissue structures as they deform. Cellular displacements are(More)
Many clinical conditions require regeneration or implantation of bone. This is one focus shared by neurosurgery and orthopedics. Current therapeutic options (bone grafting and protein-based therapy) do not provide satisfying solutions to the problem of massive bone defects. In the past few years, gene- and stem cell-based therapy has been extensively(More)
Regulated expression of transgene production and function is of great importance for gene therapy. Such regulation can potentially be used to monitor and control complex biological processes. We report here a regulated stem cell-based system for controlling bone regeneration, utilizing genetically engineered mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) harboring a(More)
A major hurdle to surmount in bone-tissue engineering is ensuring a sufficient oxygen supply to newly forming tissue to avoid cell death or delayed development of osteogenic features. We hypothesized that an oxygen-enriched hydrogel scaffold would enhance tissue-engineered bone formation in vivo. To test this, we used a well-characterized mesenchymal stem(More)
Micro-electroporation is an electroporation technology in which the electrical field that induces cell membrane poration is focused onto a single cell contained in a micro-electromechanical structure. Micro-electroporation has many unique attributes including that it facilitates real time control over the process of electroporation at the single cell level.(More)
PURPOSE Previous studies have associated low pH in intervertebral discs (IVDs) with discogenic back pain. The purpose of this study was to determine whether quantitative CEST (qCEST) MRI can be used to detect pH changes in IVDs in vivo. METHODS The exchange rate ksw between glycosaminoglycan (GAG) protons and water protons was determined from qCEST(More)
Bone tissue engineering is an emerging field, that could become a main therapeutic strategy in orthopedics in coming years. While bone has regenerative abilities that enable the self repair and regeneration of fractures, there are extreme situations in which the extent of bone loss is too large for complete regeneration to occur. In order to achieve bone(More)
Fibered confocal laser scanning microscopes have given us the ability to image fluorescently labeled biological structures in vivo and at exceptionally high spatial resolutions. By coupling this powerful imaging modality with classic optical elastography methods, we have developed novel techniques that allow us to assess functional mechanical integrity of(More)
Beta-endorphin is an endogenous opioid peptide that has been hypothesized to be involved in the behavioral effects of drugs of abuse including psychostimulants. Using microdialysis, we studied the effect of cocaine on extracellular levels of beta-endorphin in the nucleus accumbens, a brain region involved in the reinforcing effects of psychostimulant drugs.(More)