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J Biomech. 2011 Feb 3;44(3):509-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.09.017.

Dynamic compressive loading of image-guided tissue engineered meniscal constructs.

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Cornell University, Biomedical Engineering, Weill Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


This study investigated the hypothesis that dynamic compression loading enhances tissue formation and increases mechanical properties of anatomically shaped tissue engineered menisci. Bovine meniscal fibrochondrocytes were seeded in 2%w/v alginate, crosslinked with CaSO(4), injected into μCT based molds, and post crosslinked with CaCl(2). Samples were loaded via a custom bioreactor with loading platens specifically designed to load anatomically shaped constructs in unconfined compression. Based on the results of finite element simulations, constructs were loaded under sinusoidal displacement to yield physiological strain levels. Constructs were loaded 3 times a week for 1 h followed by 1 h of rest and loaded again for 1 h. Constructs were dynamically loaded for up to 6 weeks. After 2 weeks of culture, loaded samples had 2-3.2 fold increases in the extracellular matrix (ECM) content and 1.8-2.5 fold increases in the compressive modulus compared with static controls. After 6 weeks of loading, glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content and compressive modulus both decreased compared with 2 week cultures by 2.3-2.7 and 1.5-1.7 fold, respectively, whereas collagen content increased by 1.8-2.2 fold. Prolonged loading of engineered constructs could have altered alginate scaffold degradation rate and/or initiated a catabolic cellular response, indicated by significantly decreased ECM retention at 6 weeks compared with 2 weeks. However, the data indicates that dynamic loading had a strikingly positive effect on ECM accumulation and mechanical properties in short term culture.

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