, Volume 74, Issue 5, pp 458-468
Date: 17 Feb 2004

Mechanical Stimulation Promotes Osteogenic Differentiation of Human Bone Marrow Stromal Cells on 3-D Partially Demineralized Bone Scaffolds In Vitro

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Bone is a dynamic tissue that is able to sense and adapt to mechanical stimuli by modulating its mass, geometry, and structure. Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) are known to play an integral part in bone formation by providing an osteoprogenitor cell source capable of differentiating into mature osteoblasts in response to mechanical stresses. Characteristics of the in vivo bone environment including the three dimensional (3-D) lacunocanalicular structure and extracellular matrix composition have previously been shown to play major roles in influencing mechanotransduction processes within bone cells. To more accurately model this phenomenon in vitro, we cultured human BMSCs on 3-D, partially demineralized bone scaffolds in the presence of four-point bending loads within a novel bioreactor. The effect of mechanical loading and dexamethasone concentration on BMSC osteogenic differentiation and mineralized matrix production was studied for 8 and 16 days of culture. Mechanical stimulation after 16 days with 10 nM dexamethasone promoted osteogenic differentiation of BMSCs by significantly elevating alkaline phosphatase activity as well as alkaline phosphatase and osteopontin transcript levels over static controls. Mineralized matrix production also increased under these culture conditions. Dexamethasone concentration had a dramatic effect on the ability of mechanical stimulation to modulate these phenotypic and genotypic responses. These results provide increased insight into the role of mechanical stimulation on osteogenic differentiation of human BMSCs in vitro and may lead to improved strategies in bone tissue engineering.