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Although various scaffolds have been used for the creation of bioengineered tendons and ligaments, the use of collagen fibers, the major load bearing component of native tendons and ligaments, better mimics native tissue. Scaffolds designed for this purpose are seeded with fibroblasts, which are responsible for the growth and development of tendons and ligaments. These fibroblasts have been shown to respond to mechanical stimulation, mainly by placing fibroblasts in a deformable substrate such as a collagen gel or on a distensible membrane and loading the substrate or membrane. The purpose of the present research is to examine cellular responses to cyclic mechanical loading of a fibroblasts seeded collagen fiber system. Although tensile testing devices have been developed for collagen fibers, single fascicles, and for a single fibroblast, no device exists for the culture of a single fiber, cell seeded system under dynamic loading. For this purpose we have developed a device that can cyclically load a single collagen fiber seeded with cells within a custom culture well.
Date of Conference: 22-23 March 2003