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Biorheology. 2004;41(3-4):335-46.

Cyclic, mechanical compression enhances chondrogenesis of mesenchymal progenitor cells in tissue engineering scaffolds.

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Department of Trauma Surgery, University Hospital of Regensburg, 93053 Regensburg, Germany.


The effects of cyclic, mechanical compression on human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal progenitor cells undergoing chondrogenic differentiation were examined in this study. Mesenchymal progenitor cells were injected into cylindrical biodegradable scaffolds (hyaluronan-gelatin composites), cultured in a defined, serum-free chondrogenic medium and subjected to cyclic, mechanical compression. Scaffolds were loaded for 4 hours daily in the first 7 days of culture. At 1, 7, 14 and 21 days of culture, scaffolds were harvested for reverse transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), histology, quantitative DNA, proteoglycan and collagen analysis. Scaffolds loaded for 7 days showed a significant upregulation especially of chondrogenic markers (type II collagen, aggrecan; p<0.0001). No significant difference could be found for DNA content between loaded samples and unloaded controls. At day 1 in culture no significant differences in proteoglycan- and collagen contents could be detected between unloaded and loaded samples. After 21 days the proteoglycan (p<0.001) and collagen contents (p<0.0001) were significantly higher in the loaded samples compared to unloaded controls. By histological analysis (toluidine blue) a higher amount of proteoglycan-rich, extracellular matrix production throughout the matrix could be detected for loaded samples compared to unloaded controls. This study indicates that cyclic, mechanical compression enhances the expression of chondrogenic markers in mesenchymal progenitor cells differentiated in vitro resulting in an increased cartilaginous matrix formation, and suggests that mechanical forces may play an important role in cartilage repair.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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