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Tissue Eng Part A. 2015 Feb;21(3-4):564-72. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2014.0174. Epub 2015 Jan 19.

Dose-dependent response of tissue-engineered intervertebral discs to dynamic unconfined compressive loading.

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1 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University , Ithaca, New York.


Because of the limitations of current surgical methods in the treatment of degenerative disc disease, tissue-engineered intervertebral discs (TE-IVDs) have become an important target. This study investigated the biochemical and mechanical responses of composite TE-IVDs to dynamic unconfined compression. TE-IVDs were manufactured by floating an injection molded alginate nucleus pulposus (NP) in a type I collagen annulus fibrosus (AF) that was allowed to contract for 2 weeks before loading. The discs were mechanically stimulated at a range of strain amplitude (1-10%) for 2 weeks with a duty cycle of 1 h on-1 h off-1 h on before being evaluated for their biochemical and mechanical properties. Mechanical loading increased all properties in a dose-dependent manner. Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) increased between 2.8 and 2.2 fold in the AF and NP regions, respectively, whereas the hydroxyproline content increased between 1.2 and 1.8 fold. The discs also experienced a 2-fold increase in the equilibrium modulus and a 4.3-fold increase in the instantaneous modulus. Full effects for all properties were seen by 5% strain amplitude. These data suggest that dynamic loading increases the functionality of our TE-IVDs with region-dependent responses using a method that may be scaled up to larger disc models to expedite maturation for implantation.

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