Analyzing the effects of mechanical and osmotic loading on glycosaminoglycan synthesis rate in cartilaginous tissues

Xin Gao, Qiaoqiao Zhu, Weiyong Gu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The glycosaminoglycan (GAG) plays an important role in cartilaginous tissues to support and transmit mechanical loads. Many extracellular biophysical stimuli could affect GAG synthesis by cells. It has been hypothesized that the change of cell volume is a primary mechanism for cells to perceive the stimuli. Experimental studies have shown that the maximum synthesis rate of GAG is achieved at an optimal cell volume, larger or smaller than this level the GAG synthesis rate decreases. Based on the hypothesis and experimental findings in the literature, we proposed a mathematical model to quantitatively describe the cell volume dependent GAG synthesis rate in the cartilaginous tissues. Using this model, we investigated the effects of osmotic loading and mechanical loading on GAG synthesis rate. It is found our proposed mathematical model is able to well describe the change of GAG synthesis rate in isolated cells or in cartilage with variations of the osmotic loading or mechanical loading. This model is important for evaluating the GAG synthesis activity within cartilaginous tissues as well as understanding the role of mechanical loading in tissue growth or degeneration. It is also important for designing a bioreactor system with proper extracellular environment or mechanical loading for growing tissue at the maximum synthesis rate of the extracellular matrix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-577
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 26 2015


  • Biomechanics
  • Biophysical stimuli
  • Cell volume
  • GAG production
  • Mathematical model
  • Mechanobiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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