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J Biomech Eng. 2002 Dec;124(6):742-9.

Advanced bioreactor with controlled application of multi-dimensional strain for tissue engineering.

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Tufts University, Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, Bioengineering Center, 4 Colby Street, Medford, MA 02155, USA.


Advanced bioreactors are essential for meeting the complex requirements of in vitro engineering functional skeletal tissues. To address this need, we have developed a computer controlled bench-top bioreactor system with capability to apply complex concurrent mechanical strains to three-dimensional matrices independently housed in 24 reactor vessels, in conjunction with enhanced environmental and fluidic control. We demonstrate the potential of this new system to address needs in tissue engineering, specifically toward the development of a tissue engineered anterior cruciate ligament from human bone-marrow stromal cells (hBMSC), where complex mechanical and biochemical environment control is essential to tissue function. Well-controlled mechanical strains (resolution of < 0.1 micron for translational and < 0.1 degree for rotational strain) and dissolved oxygen tension (between 0%-95% +/- 1%) could be applied to the developing tissue, while maintaining temperature at 37 +/- 0.2 degrees C about developing tissue over prolonged periods of operation. A total of 48 reactor vessels containing cell culture medium and silk fiber matrices were run for up to 21 days under 90 degrees rotational and 2 mm translational deformations at 0.0167 Hz with only one succumbing to contamination due to a leak at an medium outlet port. Twenty-four silk fiber matrices seeded with human bone marrow stromal cells (hBMSCs) housed within reactor vessels were maintained at constant temperature (37 +/- 0.2 degrees C), pH (7.4 +/- 0.02), and pO2 (20 +/- 0.5%) over 14 days in culture. The system supported cell spreading and growth on the silk fiber matrices based on SEM characterization, as well as the differentiation of the cells into ligament-like cells and tissue (Altman et al., 2001).

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