Research in bone tissue engineering focuses on how mechanical forces can be used to improve bone matrix production. The group of Gwen Reilly is using a newly developed bone cell line which rapidly synthesizes matrix (in collaboration with the University of Kansas Missouri, USA). A system has been developed for studying the mechanical modulation of bone matrix formation in 3D using a cyclic compressive loading stimulus.

Polyurethane (PU) open cell foam scaffolds are seeded with bone cells under static conditions and loaded in compression at 1Hz, 5% strain in a sterile fluid-filled chamber, (Bose ElectroForce). Loading is applied for 2 hours per day at day 5, 10 and 15 of culture and cell-seeded scaffolds are assayed on days 10, 15 and 20 of culture.
Collagen content is 2 fold higher at days 15 and 20 in loaded samples compared with static controls and calcium content is 4 fold higher by day 20. Loaded samples also have higher stiffness in compression. The gene expression of the bone matrix proteins type I collagen, osteopontin and osteocalcin is also higher. This research is useful for the systematic investigation of modulators of in vitro matrix mineralisation by osteoblasts in mechanobiology and tissue engineering studies.


Gwen Reilly

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