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Design and validation of a novel bioreactor principle to combine online micro-computed tomography monitoring and mechanical loading in bone tissue engineering

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5 Author(s)
Hagenmuller, Henri ; Institute for Biomechanics, ETH Zurich, Zurich, 8093, Switzerland ; Hitz, Marco ; Merkle, Hans P. ; Meinel, Lorenz
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Mechanical loading plays an important role in bone remodeling in vivo and, therefore, has been suggested as a key parameter in stem cell-based engineering of bone-like tissue in vitro. However, the optimization of loading protocols during stem cell differentiation and subsequent bone-like tissue formation is challenged by multiple input factors, which are difficult to control and validate. These include the variable cellular performance of cells harvested from different patients, nonstandardized culture media components, the choice of the biomaterial forming the scaffold, and its morphology, impacting a broader validity of mechanical stimulation regimens. To standardize the cell culture of bone-like tissue constructs, we suggest the involvement of time-lapsed feedback loops. For this purpose we present a prototype bioreactor that combines online, nondestructive monitoring using micro-computed tomography and direct mechanical loading of three-dimensional tissue engineering constructs. Validation of this system showed displacement steps down to 1 μm and cyclic sinusoidal loadings of up to 10 Hz. Load detection resolution was 0.01 N, and micro-computed tomography data were of high quality. For the first time, the developed bioreactor links time-lapsed, nondestructive, and dynamic imaging with mechanical stimulation, designed for cell culture under sterile conditions. This system is believed to substantially improve today’s experimental options to study and optimize osteogenic stem cell culture and differentiation at the interface with mechanical stimulation.

Published in:

Review of Scientific Instruments  (Volume:81 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Jan 2010

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