Cell cultivation under different gravitational loads using a novel random positioning incubator

Authors

  • Tatiana Benavides Damm,

    1. CC Aerospace Biomedical Science & Technology, Space Biology Group, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU), Hergiswil, Nidwalden, Switzerland
    2. Institute for Biomechanics, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ), Zürich, Switzerland
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  • Isabelle Walther,

    1. CC Aerospace Biomedical Science & Technology, Space Biology Group, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU), Hergiswil, Nidwalden, Switzerland
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  • Simon L. Wüest,

    1. CC Aerospace Biomedical Science & Technology, Space Biology Group, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU), Hergiswil, Nidwalden, Switzerland
    2. Institute for Automation Engineering, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), Brugg-Windisch, Aargau, Switzerland
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  • Jörg Sekler,

    1. Institute for Automation Engineering, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), Brugg-Windisch, Aargau, Switzerland
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  • Marcel Egli

    Corresponding author
    1. CC Aerospace Biomedical Science & Technology, Space Biology Group, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU), Hergiswil, Nidwalden, Switzerland
    • Correspondence to: M. Egli

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ABSTRACT

Important in biotechnology is the establishment of cell culture methods that reflect the in vivo situation accurately. One approach for reaching this goal is through 3D cell cultivation that mimics tissue or organ structures and functions. We present here a newly designed and constructed random positioning incubator (RPI) that enables 3D cell culture in simulated microgravity (0 g). In addition to growing cells in a weightlessness-like environment, our RPI enables long-duration cell cultivation under various gravitational loads, ranging from close to 0 g to almost 1 g. This allows the study of the mechanotransductional process of cells involved in the conversion of physical forces to an appropriate biochemical response. Gravity is a type of physical force with profound developmental implications in cellular systems as it modulates the resulting signaling cascades as a consequence of mechanical loading. The experiments presented here were conducted on mouse skeletal myoblasts and human lymphocytes, two types of cells that have been shown in the past to be particularly sensitive to changes in gravity. Our novel RPI will expand the horizon at which mechanobiological experiments are conducted. The scientific data gathered may not only improve the sustainment of human life in space, but also lead to the design of alternative countermeasures against diseases related to impaired mechanosensation and downstream signaling processes on earth. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2014;111: 1180–1190. © 2013 The Authors. Biotechnology and Bioengineering Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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