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J Biomech. 2008 Jul 19;41(10):2289-96. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2008.04.007. Epub 2008 Jun 9.

Finite element modeling of 3D human mesenchymal stem cell-seeded collagen matrices exposed to tensile strain.

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2142 Burlington Laboratories, Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at NC State University and UNC-Chapel Hill, Campus Box 7115, Raleigh, NC 27695-7115, USA.


The use of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) in tissue engineering is attractive due to their ability to extensively self-replicate and differentiate into a multitude of cell lineages. It has been experimentally established that hMSCs are influenced by chemical and mechanical signals. However, the combined chemical and mechanical in vitro culture conditions that lead to functional tissue require greater understanding. In this study, finite element models were created to evaluate the local loading conditions on bone marrow-derived hMSCs seeded in three-dimensional collagen matrices exposed to cyclic tensile strain. Mechanical property and geometry data used in the models were obtained experimentally from a previous study in our laboratory and from mechanical testing. Eight finite element models were created to simulate three-dimensional hMSC-seeded collagen matrices exposed to different levels of cyclic tensile strain (10% and 12%), culture media (complete growth and osteogenic differentiating), and durations of culture (7 and 14 days). Through finite element analysis, it was determined that globally applied uniaxial tensile strains of 10% and 12% resulted in local strains up to 18.3% and 21.8%, respectively. Model results were also compared to experimental studies in an attempt to explain observed differences between hMSC response to 10% and 12% cyclic tensile strain.

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