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Sliding motion modulates stiffness and friction coefficient at the surface of tissue engineered cartilage

Grad, Sibylle, Loparic, Marko, Peter, Robert, Stolz, Martin, Aebi, Ueli and Alini, Mauro (2012) Sliding motion modulates stiffness and friction coefficient at the surface of tissue engineered cartilage Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 20, (4), pp. 288-295. (doi:10.1016/j.joca.2011.12.010). (PMID:22285735).

Record type: Article


Objective: functional cartilage tissue engineering aims to generate grafts with a functional surface, similar to that of authentic cartilage. Bioreactors that stimulate cell-scaffold constructs by simulating natural joint movements hold great potential to generate cartilage with adequate surface properties. In this study two methods based on atomic force microscopy (AFM) were applied to obtain information about the quality of engineered graft surfaces. For better understanding of the molecule-function relationships, AFM was complemented with immunohistochemistry.

Methods: bovine chondrocytes were seeded into polyurethane scaffolds and subjected to dynamic compression, applied by a ceramic ball, for 1 h daily [loading group 1 (LG1)]. In loading group 2 (LG2), the ball additionally oscillated over the scaffold, generating sliding surface motion. After 3 weeks, the surfaces of the engineered constructs were analyzed by friction force and indentation-type AFM
(IT-AFM). Results were complemented and compared to immunohistochemical analyses.

Results: the loading type significantly influenced the mechanical and histological outcomes. Constructs of LG2 exhibited lowest friction coefficient and highest micro- and nanostiffness. Collagen type II and aggrecan staining were readily observed in all constructs and appeared to reach deeper areas in loaded (LG1, LG2) compared to unloaded scaffolds. Lubricin was specifically detected at the top surface of LG2.

Conclusions: this study proposes a quantitative AFM-based functional analysis at the micrometer- and nanometer scale to evaluate the quality of cartilage surfaces. Mechanical testing (load-bearing) combined with friction analysis (gliding) can provide important information. Notably, sliding-type biomechanical stimuli may favor (re-)generation and maintenance of functional articular surfaces and support the development of mechanically competent engineered cartilage.

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Published date: April 2012
Keywords: articular cartilage, functional tissue engineering, atomic force microscopy, stiffness, friction, lubricin
Organisations: nCATS Group


Local EPrints ID: 336458
ISSN: 1063-4584
PURE UUID: 9db3e9da-0c6c-42d5-b571-026c0c7e8231

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Date deposited: 27 Mar 2012 11:18
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 06:07

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Author: Sibylle Grad
Author: Marko Loparic
Author: Robert Peter
Author: Martin Stolz
Author: Ueli Aebi
Author: Mauro Alini

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