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Exp Mol Med. 2011 Jun 30;43(6):367-73.

Effects of combined mechanical stimulation on the proliferation and differentiation of pre-osteoblasts.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering POSTECH Pohang 790-751, Korea.


We observed how combined mechanical stimuli affect the proliferation and differentiation of pre-osteoblasts. For this research, a bioreactor system was developed that can simultaneously stimulate cells with cyclic strain and ultrasound, each of which is known to effectively stimulate bone tissue regeneration. MC3T3-E1 pre-osteoblasts were chosen for bone tissue engineering due to their osteoblast-like characteristics. 3-D scaffolds were fabricated with polycaprolactone and poly-L-lactic acid using the salt leaching method. The cells were stimulated by the bioreactor with cyclic strain and ultrasound. The bioreactor was set at a frequency of 1.0 Hz and 10 % strain for cyclic strain and 1.0 MHz and 30 mW/cm(2) for ultrasound. Three experimental groups (ultrasound, cyclic strain, and combined stimulation) and a control group were examined. Each group was stimulated for 20 min/day. Mechanical stimuli did not affect MC3T3-E1 cell proliferation significantly up to 10 days when measured with the cell counting kit-8. However, gene expression analysis of collagen type-I, osteocalcin, RUNX2, and osterix revealed that the combined mechanical stimulation accelerated the matrix maturation of MC3T3-E1 cells. These results indicate that the combined mechanical stimulation can enhance the differentiation of pre-osteoblasts more efficiently than simple stimuli, in spite of no effect on cell proliferation.

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