A novel device for mechanical stimulation of primary adult rat bone marrow cells cultured on three-dimensional knitted textiles has been prototyped. A method has been developed ensuring a well-defined, high-density, and reproducible cell seeding on the knitted fabric. After culturing for 18-52 days the cell-knit composites were subjected to uniaxial 2% stretching and relaxation. The frequency was altered between 0.1Hz (196 min, loading phase) and 0.01Hz (360 min, resting phase). Identically treated knits without cells exhibited a slight stiffness reduction, whereas the stiffness of knits with cells increased from cycle to cycle. The stiffness increase was found to depend on the duration of the culture period before mechanical loading. Our data suggest that the extracellular matrix deposited by the cells on the knit and intact microtubuli of living cells cause the observed stiffness increase. In comparison to the unstrained static cell-knit composites cell proliferation and bone cell differentiation were reduced by the mechanical load.
Bruinink, A., D. Siragusano, G. Ettel, T. Brandsberg, F. Brandsberg, M. Petitmermet, B. Müller, J. Mayer, E. Wintermantel