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J Biomech. 2002 Jul;35(7):873-80.

Proliferation of human-derived osteoblast-like cells depends on the cycle number and frequency of uniaxial strain.

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  • 1Institut für Unfallchirurgische Forschung und Biomechanik, Universität Ulm, Helmholtzstr. 14, 89081 Ulm, Germany.


We tested the hypothesis whether the number of applied load cycles and the frequency of uniaxial strain have an effect on proliferation of human bone derived osteoblast-like cells. A new approach was developed in order to differentiate between the effects of frequency and the effects of cycle number and strain duration. Monolayers of subconfluently grown cells were stretched in rectangular silicone dishes with cyclic predominantly uniaxial movement along there longitudinal axes. Strain was applied over 2 days varying the number of applied load cycles (4-3600) at a constant frequency (1Hz) or varying the frequency (0.1-30Hz) at a constant number of applied cycles (1800) or at a constant strain duration (5min). At a constant frequency, proliferative response increases (103%) with the number of applied cycles until a cycle number maximum (1800 cycles) was reached. 3600 cycles reduced cell number (43%) in contrast to the maximum. The variation of the frequency of applied strain tended to result in slight differences with regard to cell proliferation when cycle number was left constant. However, combined with an appropriate number of cycles there was an optimal frequency (1Hz) as stimulus for bone cell proliferation (84%). A higher frequency (30Hz) in combination with a high cycle number (9000) reduced cell number to control level (4%). This study demonstrates a frequency and cycle number dependent proliferative response of human osteoblast-like cells. It could be shown that effects of the frequency should not be considered separately from the effects of the cycle number.

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