Dynamic compression can inhibit chondrogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells.
The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of dynamic compressive loading on chondrogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the presence of TGF-beta3. Isolated porcine MSCs were suspended in 2% agarose and subjected to intermittent dynamic compression (10% strain) for a period of 42 days in a dynamic compression bioreactor. After 42 days in culture, the free-swelling specimens exhibited more intense alcian blue staining for proteoglycans, while immunohistochemical analysis revealed increased collagen type II immunoreactivity. Glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content increased with time for both free-swelling and dynamically loaded constructs, and by day 42 it was significantly higher in both the core (2.5+/-0.21%w/w vs. 0.94+/-0.03%w/w) and annulus (1.09+/-0.09%w/w vs. 0.59+/-0.08%w/w) of free-swelling constructs compared to dynamically loaded constructs. This result suggests that further optimization is required in controlling the biomechanical and/or the biochemical environment if such stimuli are to have beneficial effects in generating functional cartilaginous tissue.