Development of a cell culture system loading cyclic mechanical strain to chondrogenic cells

Taisuke Masuda, Ichiro Takahashi, Takahisa Anada, Fumihito Arai, Toshio Fukuda, Teruko Takano-Yamamoto, Osamu Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Mechanical stimulation is considered to be one of the major epigenetic factors regulating the metabolism, proliferation, survival and differentiation of cells in the skeletal tissues. It is generally accepted that the cytoskeleton can undergo remodeling in response to mechanical stimuli such as tensile strain or fluid flow. Mechanically induced cell deformation is one of the possible mechanotransduction pathways by which chondrocytes sense and respond to changes in their mechanical environment. Mechanical strain has a variety of effects on the structure and function of their cells in the skeletal tissues, such as chondrocytes, osteoblasts and fibroblasts. However, little is known about the effect of the quality and quantity of mechanical strain and the timing of mechanical loading on the differentiation of these cells. The present study was designed to investigate the effect of the deformation of chondrogenic cells, and cyclic compression using a newly developed culture device, by analyzing mechanobiological response to the differentiating chondrocytes. Cyclic compression between 0 and 22% strains, at 23 μHz was loaded on chondrogenic cell line ATDC5 by seeding in a mass mode on PDMS membrane, assuming direct transfer of cyclic deformation from the membrane to the cells at the same frequency. The compressive strain, induced within the membrane, was characterized based on the analysis of the finite element modeling (FEM). The results showed that the tensile strain inhibits the chondrogenic differentiation of ATDC5 cells, whereas the compressive strain enhances the chondrogenic differentiation, suggesting that the differentiation of the chondrogenic cells could be controlled by the amount and the mode of strain. In conclusion, we have developed a unique strain loading culture system to analyze the effect of various types of mechanical stimulation on various cellular activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-238
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan 20


  • Chondrogenic cell
  • Culture system
  • Finite element modeling (FEM)
  • Mechanical strain
  • Mechanical stress
  • Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)


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