Concentric cylinder bioreactor for production of tissue engineered cartilage: effect of seeding density and hydrodynamic loading on construct development

Sunil Saini, Timothy M Wick
Biotechnology Progress 2003, 19 (2): 510-21
A concentric cylinder bioreactor has been developed to culture tissue engineered cartilage constructs under hydrodynamic loading. This bioreactor operates in a low shear stress environment, has a large growth area for construct production, allows for dynamic seeding of constructs, and provides for a uniform loading environment. Porous poly-lactic acid constructs, seeded dynamically in the bioreactor using isolated bovine chondrocytes, were cultured for 4 weeks at three seeding densities (60, 80, 100 x 10(6) cells per bioreactor) and three different shear stresses (imposed at 19, 38, and 76 rpm) to characterize the effect of chondrocyte density and hydrodynamic loading on construct growth. Construct seeding efficiency with chondrocytes is greater than 95% within 24 h. Extensive chondrocyte proliferation and matrix deposition are achieved so that after 28 days in culture, constructs from bioreactors seeded at the highest cell densities contain up to 15 x 10(6) cells, 2 mg GAG, and 3.5 mg collagen per construct and exhibit morphology similar to that of native cartilage. Bioreactors seeded with 60 million chondrocytes do not exhibit robust proliferation or matrix deposition and do not achieve morphology similar to that of native cartilage. In cultures under different steady hydrodynamic loading, the data demonstrate that higher shear stress suppresses matrix GAG deposition and encourages collagen incorporation. In contrast, under dynamic hydrodynamic loading conditions, cartilage constructs exhibit robust matrix collagen and GAG deposition. The data demonstrate that the concentric cylinder bioreactor provides a favorable hydrodynamic environment for cartilage construct growth and differentiation. Notably, construct matrix accumulation can be manipulated by hydrodynamic loading. This bioreactor is useful for fundamental studies of construct growth and to assess the significance of cell density, nutrients, and hydrodynamic loading on cartilage development. In addition, studies of cartilage tissue engineering in the well-characterized, uniform environment of the concentric cylinder bioreactor will develop important knowledge of bioprocessing parameters critical for large-scale production of engineered tissues.

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