The effect of hydrodynamic shear on 3D engineered chondrocyte systems subject to direct perfusion

Manuela T. Raimondi, Matteo Moretti, Margherita Cioffi, Carmen Giordano, Federica Boschetti, Katia Laganà, Riccardo Pietrabissa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bioreactors allowing direct-perfusion of culture medium through tissue-engineered constructs may overcome diffusion limitations associated with static culturing, and may provide flow-mediated mechanical stimuli. The hydrodynamic stress imposed on cells within scaffolds is directly dependent on scaffold microstructure and on bioreactor configuration. Aim of this study is to investigate optimal shear stress ranges and to quantitatively predict the levels of hydrodynamic shear imposed to cells during the experiments. Bovine articular chondrocytes were seeded on polyestherurethane foams and cultured for 2 weeks in a direct perfusion bioreactor designed to impose 4 different values of shear level at a single flow rate (0.5 ml/min). Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations were carried out on reconstructions of the scaffold obtained from micro-computed tomography images. Biochemistry analyses for DNA and sGAG were performed, along with electron microscopy. The hydrodynamic shear induced on cells within constructs, as estimated by CFD simulations, ranged from 4.6 to 56 mPa. This 12-fold increase in the level of applied shear stress determined a 1.7-fold increase in the mean content in DNA and a 2.9-fold increase in the mean content in sGAG. In contrast, the mean sGAG/DNA ratio showed a tendency to decrease for increasing shear levels. Our results suggest that the optimal condition to favour sGAG synthesis in engineered constructs, at least at the beginning of culture, is direct perfusion at the lowest level of hydrodynamic shear. In conclusion, the presented results represent a first attempt to quantitatively correlate the imposed hydrodynamic shear level and the invoked biosynthetic response in 3D engineered chondrocyte systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-222
Number of pages8
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Biosynthesis
  • Cartilage
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Mechanobiology
  • Porous biomaterials
  • Simulation
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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