Quantitative analysis of dynamic behavior of osteoblasts during in vitro formation of micro-mass cell cultures



Improvements in bone tissue engineering require an understanding of cellular and tissue level behavior of osteoblast-like cells. Experiments indicate that in the absence of an anchoring material, intercellular adhesion may be based on signals that promote cell activity resulting in the formation of a spheroid cell-matrix. The aim of the present study is to investigate the formation of scaffold-free three-dimensional micro-mass cell spheroids in vitro, and to characterize quantitatively the cell movement. A new correlation based automated tracking method is evaluated in order to optimize the processing parameters and to identify statistical parameters that characterize the cell behavior. Results suggest that the temporal development of the mean distance of the cells to the center of gravity may be described by an exponential function, thus providing a characteristic time constant as a quantitative measure of cell dynamics. (© 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)