Cyclic compression maintains viability and induces chondrogenesis of human mesenchymal stem cells in fibrin gel scaffolds

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112 Scopus citations


Mechanical loading has long been shown to modulate cartilage-specific extracellular matrix synthesis. With joint motion, cartilage can experience mechanical loading in the form of compressive, tensile or shearing load, and hydrostatic pressure. Recent studies have demonstrated the capacity of unconfined cyclic compression to induce chondrogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) in agarose culture. However, the use of a nonbiodegradable material such as agarose limits the applicability of these constructs. Of the possible biocompatible materials available for tissue engineering, fibrin is a natural regenerative scaffold, which possesses several desired characteristics including a controllable degradation rate and low immunogenicity. The objective of the present study was to determine the capability of fibrin gels for supporting chondrogenesis of hMSCs under cyclic compression. To optimize the system, three concentrations of fibrin gel (40, 60, and 80 mg/mL) and three different stimulus frequencies (0.1, 0.5, and 1.0 Hz) were used to examine the effects of cyclic compression on viability, proliferation and chondrogenic differentiation of hMSCs. Our results show that cyclic compression (10% strain) at frequencies >0.5 Hz and gel concentration of 40 mg/mL fibrinogen appears to maintain cellular viability within scaffolds. Similarly, variations in gel component concentration and stimulus frequency can be modified such that a significant chondrogenic response can be achieved by hMSC in fibrin constructs after 8 h of compression spread out over 2 days. This study demonstrates the suitability of fibrin gel for supporting the cyclic compression-induced chondrogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalStem cells and development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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