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Connect Tissue Res. 2012;53(2):149-59. doi: 10.3109/03008207.2011.619284. Epub 2011 Dec 7.

Effect of mechanical stimulation on the differentiation of cord stem cells.

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Department of Medical Biotechnology, Dongguk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


In this study, we evaluated the effect of mechanical stimulation on the differentiation of umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UC-MSCs) in osteogenic medium using a Flexcell system that imposed cyclic uniaxial mechanical stimulation at a strain of 0%, 5%, or 10% (5 s of stretch and 15 s of relaxation) for 10 days. The expression of MSC surface antigens (CD73, CD90, and CD105) was significantly decreased as strain increased. Mechanical stimulation inhibited the growth of UC-MSCs and slightly raised lactate dehydrogenase production. Mechanically stimulated groups produced more elastin and sulfated glycosaminoglycan than unstimulated groups and these increases were in proportion to the degree of strain. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that mechanical stimulation induced a significant increase in the mRNA expression of osteoblast differentiation markers. The mRNA levels of osteopontin, osteonectin, and type I collagen in the 5% and 10% strained groups were significantly higher than those in the 0% strained group. From the Western blot analysis, UC-MSCs produced bone sialoprotein and vimentin in a mechanical strain-dependent manner. Thus, cyclic mechanical loading was able to enhance the differentiation of human UC-MSCs into osteoblast-like cells as determined by osteogenic gene and protein expression. Furthermore, this finding has important implications for the use of the combination of mechanical and osteogenic differentiation media for UC-MSCs in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

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