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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Dec 9;94(25):13885-90.

Tissue engineering of cartilage in space.

Author information

  • 1Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Lfreed@mit.edu

Abstract

Tissue engineering of cartilage, i.e., the in vitro cultivation of cartilage cells on synthetic polymer scaffolds, was studied on the Mir Space Station and on Earth. Specifically, three-dimensional cell-polymer constructs consisting of bovine articular chondrocytes and polyglycolic acid scaffolds were grown in rotating bioreactors, first for 3 months on Earth and then for an additional 4 months on either Mir (10(-4)-10(-6) g) or Earth (1 g). This mission provided a unique opportunity to study the feasibility of long-term cell culture flight experiments and to assess the effects of spaceflight on the growth and function of a model musculoskeletal tissue. Both environments yielded cartilaginous constructs, each weighing between 0.3 and 0.4 g and consisting of viable, differentiated cells that synthesized proteoglycan and type II collagen. Compared with the Earth group, Mir-grown constructs were more spherical, smaller, and mechanically inferior. The same bioreactor system can be used for a variety of controlled microgravity studies of cartilage and other tissues. These results may have implications for human spaceflight, e.g., a Mars mission, and clinical medicine, e.g., improved understanding of the effects of pseudo-weightlessness in prolonged immobilization, hydrotherapy, and intrauterine development.

PMID:
9391122
PMCID:
PMC28402
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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