eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2013   Volume No 25 – pages 317-325

Title: Cell cytoskeletal changes effected by static compressive stress lead to changes in the contractile properties of tissue regenerative collagen membranes

Author: K Gellynck, R Shah, D Deng, M Parkar, W Liu, JC Knowles, P Buxton

Address: Division of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, UCL Eastman Dental Institute, 256 Gray’s Inn Road, London, WC1X 8LD, UK

E-mail: j.knowles at

Key Words: compression; tensegrity; cell shape; cytoskeleton; bone; collagen gel; extracellular matrix; barrier membrane; tissue regeneration; differentiation; contraction .

Publication date: June 29th 2013

Abstract: Static compressive stress can influence the matrix, which subsequently affects cell behaviour and the cell’s ability to further transform the matrix. This study aimed to assess response to static compressive stress at different stages of osteoblast differentiation and assess the cell cytoskeleton’s role as a conduit of matrix-derived stimuli. Mouse bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) (D1 ORL UVA), osteoblastic cells (MC3T3-E1) and post-osteoblast/pre-osteocyte-like cells (MLO-A5) were seeded in hydrated and compressed collagen gels. Contraction was quantified macroscopically, and cell morphology, survival, differentiation and mineralisation assessed using confocal microscopy, alamarBlue® assay, real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and histological stains, respectively. Confocal microscopy demonstrated cell shape changes and favourable microfilament organisation with static compressive stress of the collagen matrix; furthermore, cell survival was greater compared to the hydrated gels. The stage of osteoblast differentiation determined the degree of matrix contraction, with MSCs demonstrating the greatest amount. Introduction of microfilament disrupting inhibitors confirmed that pre-stress and tensegrity forces were under the influence of gel density, and there was increased survival and differentiation of the cells within the compressed collagen compared to the hydrated collagen. There was also relative stiffening and differentiation with time of the compressed cell-seeded collagen, allowing for greater manipulation. In conclusion, the combined collagen chemistry and increased density of the microenvironment can promote upregulation of osteogenic genes and mineralisation; MSCs can facilitate matrix contraction to form an engineered membrane with the potential to serve as a ‘pseudo-periosteum’ in the regeneration of bone defects.

Article download: Pages 317-325 (PDF file)
DOI: 10.22203/eCM.v025a22