Cyclic tensile strain enhances human mesenchymal stem cell SMAD 2/3 activation and tenogenic differentiation in anisotropic collagen-glycosaminoglycan scaffolds

W. K. Grier, A. S. Moy, B. A.C. Harley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Orthopaedic injuries, particularly those involving ligaments and tendons, are some of the most commonly treated ailments in the United States and are associated with both high costs and poor outcomes. Regenerative medicine strategies for tendon injuries could be enhanced by three-dimensional biomaterials that can promote cell alignment and pro-tenogenic differentiation of patientderived MSCs. We have previously described a collagenglycosaminoglycan (CG) scaffold possessing aligned structural features able to promote bone marrow MSC differentiation towards a tenogenic lineage, in the absence of growth factor supplementation. We aimed to employ a bioreactor to enhance MSC tenogenic differentiation within the aligned CG scaffold via cyclic tensile strain (CTS), and further to evaluate the relative effects of strain cycle duration and extended application of repeated cycles of CTS on MSC response. Human MSCs were cultured in CG scaffolds for up to 6 d under static (unloaded) or cyclic tensile strain (1 Hz) for 10 min every 6 h. Time-dependent activation of ERK 1/2 and p38 mechanotransduction pathways was observed within each 6 h strain cycle. MSCs remained viable throughout the experiment and application of CTS robustly upregulated the expression of tendon-specific extracellular matrix proteins and phenotypic markers. Simultaneously, CTS promoted increased phosphorylation of Smad 2/3, suggesting a link between tensile stimulation and TGF-β family growth factor production. Together, we demonstrated the design, fabrication and validation of a high-throughput tensile stimulation bioreactor to increase MSC tenogenic differentiation in porous CG scaffolds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-239
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Cells and Materials
Volume33
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • Bioreactor
  • Collagen scaffold
  • Cyclic tensile strain
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Mesenchymal stem cell
  • Tendon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cell Biology

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