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Biomaterials. 2013 Jul;34(23):5766-75. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.04.023. Epub 2013 May 7.

Mechanical modulation of nascent stem cell lineage commitment in tissue engineering scaffolds.

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1
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 2071 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Cleveland, OH 44106-7207, USA.

Abstract

Taking inspiration from tissue morphogenesis in utero, this study tests the concept of using tissue engineering scaffolds as delivery devices to modulate emergent structure-function relationships at early stages of tissue genesis. We report on the use of a combined computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling, advanced manufacturing methods, and experimental fluid mechanics (micro-piv and strain mapping) for the prospective design of tissue engineering scaffold geometries that deliver spatially resolved mechanical cues to stem cells seeded within. When subjected to a constant magnitude global flow regime, the local scaffold geometry dictates the magnitudes of mechanical stresses and strains experienced by a given cell, and in a spatially resolved fashion, similar to patterning during morphogenesis. In addition, early markers of mesenchymal stem cell lineage commitment relate significantly to the local mechanical environment of the cell. Finally, by plotting the range of stress-strain states for all data corresponding to nascent cell lineage commitment (95% CI), we begin to "map the mechanome", defining stress-strain states most conducive to targeted cell fates. In sum, we provide a library of reference mechanical cues that can be delivered to cells seeded on tissue engineering scaffolds to guide target tissue phenotypes in a temporally and spatially resolved manner. Knowledge of these effects allows for prospective scaffold design optimization using virtual models prior to prototyping and clinical implementation. Finally, this approach enables the development of next generation scaffolds cum delivery devices for genesis of complex tissues with heterogenous properties, e.g., organs, joints or interface tissues such as growth plates.

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