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Keywords:

  • flow perfusion bioreactor;
  • scaffold;
  • osteogenesis;
  • collagen;
  • tissue engineering

Abstract

In tissue engineering, bioreactors can be used to aid in the in vitro development of new tissue by providing biochemical and physical regulatory signals to cells and encouraging them to undergo differentiation and/or to produce extracellular matrix prior to in vivo implantation. This study examined the effect of short term flow perfusion bioreactor culture, prior to long-term static culture, on human osteoblast cell distribution and osteogenesis within a collagen glycosaminoglycan (CG) scaffold for bone tissue engineering. Human fetal osteoblasts (hFOB 1.19) were seeded onto CG scaffolds and pre-cultured for 6 days. Constructs were then placed into the bioreactor and exposed to 3 × 1 h bouts of steady flow (1 mL/min) separated by 7 h of no flow over a 24-h period. The constructs were then cultured under static osteogenic conditions for up to 28 days. Results show that the bioreactor and static culture control groups displayed similar cell numbers and metabolic activity. Histologically, however, peripheral cell-encapsulation was observed in the static controls, whereas, improved migration and homogenous cell distribution was seen in the bioreactor groups. Gene expression analysis showed that all osteogenic markers investigated displayed greater levels of expression in the bioreactor groups compared to static controls. While static groups showed increased mineral deposition; mechanical testing revealed that there was no difference in the compressive modulus between bioreactor and static groups. In conclusion, a flow perfusion bioreactor improved construct homogeneity by preventing peripheral encapsulation whilst also providing an enhanced osteogenic phenotype over static controls. Bioeng. 2011; 108:1203–1210. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.