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

2021   Volume No 41 – pages 531-545

Title: Differential effect of frequency and duration of mechanical loading on fetal chick cartilage and bone development

Authors: N Khatib, C Parisi, NC Nowlan

Address: Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London, London, SW7 2AZ, UK

E-mail: n.nowlan at

Abstract: Developmental engineering strategies aim to recapitulate aspects of development in vitro as a means of forming functional engineered tissues, including cartilage and bone, for tissue repair and regeneration. Biophysical stimuli arising from fetal movements are critical for guiding skeletogenesis, but there have been few investigations of the biomechanical parameters which optimally promote cartilage and bone development events in in vitro explants. The effect of applied flexion-extension movement frequencies (0.33 and 0.67 Hz) and durations (2 h periods, 1, 2 or 3 × per day) on knee (stifle) joint cartilage shape, chondrogenesis and diaphyseal mineralisation of fetal chick hindlimbs, cultured in a mechanostimulation bioreactor, were assessed both quantitatively and qualitatively. It was hypothesised that increasing frequency and duration of movements would synergistically promote cartilage and bone formation in a dose-dependent manner. Increasing loading duration promoted cartilage growth, shape development and mineralisation of the femoral condyles and tibiotarsus. While increasing frequency had a significant positive effect on mineralisation, hyaline cartilage growth and joint shape were unaffected by frequency change within the ranges assessed, and there were limited statistical interactions between the effects of movement frequency and duration on cartilage or bone formation. Increased glycosaminoglycan deposition and cell proliferation may have contributed to the accelerated cartilage growth and shape change under increasing loading duration. The results demonstrated that frequencies and durations of applied biomechanical stimulation differentially promoted cartilage and bone formation, with implications for developmentally inspired tissue engineering strategies aiming to modulate tissue construct properties.

Key Words: Developmental engineering, tissue engineering, mechanobiology, joint morphogenesis, skeletogenesis, chondrogenesis, mineralisation.

Publication date: May 25th 2021

Article download: Pages 531-545 (PDF file)

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