• Chondrogenesis;
  • Stem cell;
  • Bone marrow;
  • Mechanobiology


Much attention has been given to the influences of bioactive factors on mesenchymal progenitor cell differentiation and proliferation, but few studies have examined the effect of mechanical factors on these cells. This study examined the effects of cyclic hydrostatic pressure on human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal progenitor cells undergoing chondrogenic differentiation. Aggregates of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal progenitor cells were cultured in a defined chondrogenic medium and were subjected to cyclic hydrostatic pressure. Aggregates were loaded at various time points: single (day 1 or 3) or multiple (days 1–7). At 14 and 28 days, aggregates were harvested for histology, immunohistochemistry, and quantitative DNA and matrix macromolecule analysis. The aggregates loaded for a single day did not demonstrate significant changes in proteoglycan and collagen contents compared with the non-loaded controls. In contrast, for the multi-day loaded aggregates, statistically significant increases in proteoglycan and collagen contents were found on both day 14 and day 28. Aggregates loaded for seven days were larger and histological staining indicated a greater matrix/cell ratio. This study indicates that hydrostatic pressure enhances the cartilaginous matrix formation of mesenchymal progenitor cells differentiated in vitro, and suggests that mechanical forces may play an important role in cartilage repair and regeneration in vivo.

© 2002 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.