Achievement of viable engineered tissues through in vitro cultivation in bioreactor systems requires a thorough understanding of the complex interplay between hydrodynamic forces and biochemical cues such as serum. To this end, chondrocyte-seeded constructs were cultured under continuous fluid-induced shear forces with reduced serum content (0%-2%, v/v), which was partially or completely replaced by a potential substitute, insulin-transferrin-selenium, to minimize deleterious effects associated with the use of culture media containing high levels of serum (10%-20%). Low-serum cultures yielded constructs with similar biochemical properties to those cultivated with high-serum supplements, whereas the serum-free constructs exhibited poor cell proliferation, insufficient extracellular matrix production, and rapid degradation of and/or shear-induced damage to polyglycolic acid scaffolds. A fibrous outer capsule typically observed in hydrodynamic cultures and characterized by increased cell density and decreased (virtually none) glycosaminoglycan deposition was eliminated when serum concentration was equal to or<0.2% in the presence of hydrodynamic stimuli. Our findings suggest that serum is a requirement in insulin-transferrin-selenium-supplemented cultures in order for constructs to exhibit improved properties in response to hydrodynamic forces, and that mechanical and biochemical stimuli may synergistically modulate tissue properties and morphology through shear-responsive signals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering