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Eur Cell Mater. 2016 Jul 19;32:111-22.

Primary cilia expression in bone marrow in response to mechanical stimulation in explant bioreactor culture.

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Bone marrow contains a multitude of mechanically sensitive cells that may participate in mechanotransduction. Primary cilia are sensory organelles expressed on mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), osteoblasts, osteocytes, and other cell types that sense fluid flow in monolayer culture. In marrow, cilia could similarly facilitate the sensation of relative motion between adjacent cells or interstitial fluid. The goal of this study was to determine the response of cilia to mechanical stimulation of the marrow. Bioreactors were used to supply trabecular bone explants with low magnitude mechanical stimulation (LMMS) of 0.3 ×g at 30 Hz for 1 h/d, 5 d/week, inducing shear stresses in the marrow. Four groups were studied: unstimulated (UNSTIM), stimulated (LMMS), and with and without chloral hydrate (UNSTIM+CH and LMMS+CH, respectively), which was used to disrupt cilia. After 19 days of culture, immunohistochemistry for acetylated α-tubulin revealed that more cells expressed cilia in culture compared to in vivo controls. Stimulation decreased the number of cells expressing cilia in untreated explants, but not in CH-treated explants. MSCs represented a greater fraction of marrow cells in the untreated explants than CH-treated explants. MSCs harvested from the stimulated groups were more proliferative than in the unstimulated explants, but this effect was absent from CH treated explants. In contrast to the marrow, neither LMMS nor CH treatment affected bone formation as measured by mineralising surface. Computational models indicated that LMMS does not induce bone strain, and the reported effects were thus attributed to shear stress in the marrow. From a clinical perspective, genetic or pharmaceutical alterations of cilia expression may affect marrow health and function.

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