Effects of dynamic compressive loading on chondrocyte biosynthesis in self-assembling peptide scaffolds

John D Kisiday, Moonsoo Jin, Michael A DiMicco, Bodo Kurz, Alan J Grodzinsky
Journal of Biomechanics 2004, 37 (5): 595-604
Dynamic mechanical loading has been reported to affect chondrocyte biosynthesis in both cartilage explant and chondrocyte-seeded constructs. In this study, the effects of dynamic compression on chondrocyte-seeded peptide hydrogels were analyzed for extracellular matrix synthesis and retention over long-term culture. Initial studies were conducted with chondrocyte-seeded agarose hydrogels to explore the effects of various non-continuous loading protocols on chondrocyte biosynthesis. An optimized alternate day loading protocol was identified that increased proteoglycan (PG) synthesis over control cultures maintained in free-swelling conditions. When applied to chondrocyte-seeded peptide hydrogels, alternate day loading stimulated PG synthesis up to two-fold higher than that in free-swelling cultures. While dynamic compression also increased PG loss to the medium throughout the 39-day time course, total PG accumulation in the scaffold was significantly higher than in controls after 16 and 39 days of loading, resulting in an increase in the equilibrium and dynamic compressive stiffness of the constructs. Viable cell densities of dynamically compressed cultures differed from free-swelling controls by less than 20%, demonstrating that changes in PG synthesis were due to an increase in the average biosynthesis per viable cell. Protein synthesis was not greatly affected by loading, demonstrating that dynamic compression differentially regulated the synthesis of PGs. Taken together, these results demonstrate the potential of dynamic compression for stimulating PG synthesis and accumulation for applications to in vitro culture of tissue engineered constructs prior to implantation.

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