Microgravity Science and Technology

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 237–245 | Cite as

Tissue Engineering of Cartilage on Ground-Based Facilities

  • Ganna Aleshcheva
  • Johann Bauer
  • Ruth Hemmersbach
  • Marcel Egli
  • Markus Wehland
  • Daniela GrimmEmail author


Investigations under simulated microgravity offer the opportunity for a better understanding of the influence of altered gravity on cells and the scaffold-free three-dimensional (3D) tissue formation. To investigate the short-term influence, human chondrocytes were cultivated for 2 h, 4 h, 16 h, and 24 h on a 2D Fast-Rotating Clinostat (FRC) in DMEM/F-12 medium supplemented with 10 % FCS. We detected holes in the vimentin network, perinuclear accumulations of vimentin after 2 h, and changes in the chondrocytes shape visualised by F-actin staining after 4 h of FRC-exposure. Scaffold-free cultivation of chondrocytes for 7 d on the Random Positioning Machine (RPM), the FRC and the Rotating Wall Vessel (RWV) resulted in spheroid formation, a phenomenon already known from spaceflight experiments with chondrocytes (MIR Space Station) and thyroid cancer cells (SimBox/Shenzhou-8 space mission). The experiments enabled by the ESA-CORA-GBF programme gave us an optimal opportunity to study gravity-related cellular processes, validate ground-based facilities for our chosen cell system, and prepare long-term experiments under real microgravity conditions in space


Microgravity Random Positioning Machine Clinostat Rotating Wall Vessel Chondrocytes Cartilage Cytoskeleton Tissue engineering 



The authors would like to thank Helmholtz Space Life Sciences Research School (SpaceLife), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR; (DG) BMWi project 50WB1124 and 50WB1524), the European Space Agency (ESA; CORA-GBF-2013-004 with Acronym Cartilage) (DG), Aarhus University, Denmark (DG), and DGLRM (Young Fellow Programme for GA). The data in this publication are part of the PhD thesis of Dipl.-Ing. Ganna Aleshcheva.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ganna Aleshcheva
    • 1
  • Johann Bauer
    • 2
  • Ruth Hemmersbach
    • 3
  • Marcel Egli
    • 4
  • Markus Wehland
    • 1
  • Daniela Grimm
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Clinic for Plastic, Aesthetic and Hand SurgeryOtto-von-Guericke UniversityMagdeburgGermany
  2. 2.Max-Planck-Institute for BiochemistryMartinsriedGermany
  3. 3.German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Gravitational BiologyCologneGermany
  4. 4.Aerospace Biomedical Science & Technology Space Biology GroupLucerne University of Applied Sciences and ArtsHergiswilSwitzerland
  5. 5.Department of BiomedicineAarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark

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