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Stem Cell Res Ther. 2013 Jan 31;4(1):10. doi: 10.1186/scrt158.

Mechanical control of tissue-engineered bone.


Bone is a load-bearing tissue and physical forces play key roles in the development and maintenance of its structure. Mechanical cues can stimulate the expression of an osteogenic phenotype, enhance matrix and mineral deposition, and influence tissue organization to improve the functional outcome of engineered bone grafts. In recent years, a number of studies have investigated the effects of biophysical forces on the bone formation properties of osteoprogenitor cells. The application of physiologically relevant stimuli to tissue-engineered bone may be determined through observation and understanding of forces to which osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and osteocytes are exposed in native bone. Subsequently, these cues may be parameterized and their effects studied in well-defined in vitro systems. The osteo-inductive effects of three specific mechanical cues - shear stress, substrate rigidity, and nanotopography - on cells cultured in monolayer or in three-dimensional biomaterial scaffolds in vitro are reviewed. Additionally, we address the time-dependent effects of mechanical cues on vascular infiltration and de novo bone formation in acellular scaffolds implanted into load-bearing sites in vivo. Recent studies employing cutting-edge advances in biomaterial fabrication and bioreactor design have provided key insights into the role of mechanical cues on cellular fate and tissue properties of engineered bone grafts. By providing mechanistic understanding, future studies may go beyond empirical approaches to rational design of engineering systems to control tissue development.

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