Identification of biomarkers for capsular contracture formation and novel biomimetic breast implant surface design and development

  • Daniel Kyle

Student thesis: Phd


Breast implant capsular contracture (CC) formation is a significant clinical complication post augmentation/reconstruction, which often necessitates re-operation. CC, which occurs in over half of patients post augmentation, is the formation of a fibrous internal capsule which constricts around the prosthesis leading to firmness, deformity and pain. The pathoetiology of CC is poorly understood with minimal understanding of the triggers, signalling pathways or dysregulated genes implicated in its formation. Therefore, the first aim of the present thesis was to investigate biomarkers implicated in CC formation, through whole genome microarray, quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) on capsule samples ranging from normal capsules (Baker Grade 1) to severely contracted capsules (Baker Grade 4). After targeted enrichment analysis, microarray identified 6 genes which were significantly dysregulated in contracted capsules. After further genomic and proteomic validation, two potential diagnostic, prognostic or therapeutic biomarkers for CC, interleukin 8 (IL8) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 4 (TIMP 4), were identified as being significantly dysregulated in CC. However, the role of each of the multiple cell types which populate a contracted capsule has yet to be determined. Therefore, the role of capsular fibroblasts was investigated using immunocytochemistry, qRT-PCR, cytokine arrays and a fibroblast populated 3D collagen matrix. IL8 and TIMP were investigated, in addition to other pro-fibrotic and pro-inflammation related candidates, to identify the role of breast capsule fibroblasts in CC formation. Normal breast fibroblast populated collagen matrices were significantly more contracted after supplementation with contracted-capsule fibroblast conditioned media, in comparison to normal growth media. It was discovered that breast-derived fibroblasts were potentially instigating and/or perpetuating CC through the transformation of normal breast fibroblasts into contracted capsule fibroblast like cells, via a paracrine signalling mechanism. The results of this work on capsular fibroblasts, and the previous work on capsular tissue, increased our understanding of the cell types and signalling molecules which are dysregulated leading to CC formation. Therefore, a novel silicone implant surface potentially capable of averting CC formation could be fabricated. Acellular dermal matrix (ADM) has been used as an adjunct in breast implant augmentation/reconstruction resulting in reduced rates of CC formation. Therefore, the micro and nanoscale topography of ADM was reproduced in a silicone surface, through a novel fabrication technique utilising comprehensive characterisation of ADM with atomic force microscopy (AFM), maskless grayscale photolithography, modified deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) and replica moulding. The features of ADM were successfully re-created in silicone to within 5 nm (Sa) and 655 nm (Sz), at a length scale of 90x90 ┬Ám2. Biological evaluation revealed that ADM PDMS surfaces promoted cell adhesion, proliferation and survival when compared to commercially available implant surfaces while cell adhesion regulating genes were upregulated and pro-inflammatory/pro-fibrotic related genes were downregulated. A reduced inflammatory cytokine response was also observed. This study demonstrates that biomimetic prosthetic implant surfaces might significantly attenuate the acute in vitro foreign body reaction to silicone. In conclusion, the results of the present thesis have enhanced our knowledge and understanding of the pathological cellular and molecular mechanisms leading to CC, in addition to the design and development of a novel, biomimetic implant surface that is potentially capable of averting the identified pathological processes in vivo.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorErnest Hill (Supervisor) & Ardeshir Bayat (Supervisor)


  • Nano and micro fabrication
  • Surface topography
  • Inflammation
  • Breast implant
  • Biomimetic
  • Capsular contracture
  • Fibrosis

Cite this