Date of this Version
Published in Acta Biomaterialia 10:11 (2014), pp. 4798-4810; doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2014.07.013
Chondrocyte-seeded scaffolds were cultured in an ultrasound (US)-assisted bioreactor, which supplied the cells with acoustic energy around resonance frequencies (~5.0 MHz). Polyurethane-polycarbonate (BM), chitosan (CS) and chitosan–n-butanol (CSB) based scaffolds with varying porosities were chosen and the following US regimen was employed: 15 kPa and 60 kPa, 5 min per application and 6 applications per day for 21 days. Non-stimulated scaffolds served as control. For BM scaffolds, US stimulation significantly impacted cell proliferation and depth-independent cell population density compared to controls. The highest COL2A1/COL1A1 ratios and ACAN mRNA were noted on US-treated BM scaffolds compared to controls. A similar trend was noted on UStreated cell-seeded CS and CSB scaffolds, though COL2A1/COL1A1 ratios were significantly lower compared to BM scaffolds. Expression of Sox-9 was also elevated under US and paralleled the COL2A1/COL1A1 ratio. As an original contribution, a simplified mathematical model based on Biot theory was developed to understand the propagation of the incident US wave through the scaffolds and the model analysis was connected to cellular responses. Scaffold architecture influenced the distribution of US field, with the US field being the least attenuated in BM scaffolds, thus coupling more mechanical energy into cells, and leading to increased cellular activity.
[Includes Supplementary Figures 1-3.]