Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Mechanical Stimulation of Stem Cells for Guided Differentiation (2D and 3D)

Our lab has developed a mechanical loading paradigm (“Mechanical Panel”) that allows the exposure of cultured cells to three physiologic forces in parallel.  These forces include cyclic stretching, cyclic hydrostatic pressure and laminar shear stress, the cellular responses to which can all be compared to each other as well as to static incubator (control) conditions.  The cyclic stretching and laminar shear stress are imparted using systems commercially-available from FlexcellTM.  To impart cyclic hydrostatic pressure loading to the cells, we developed a customized system. We also have the capability using the Flexcell Tissue TrainTM system to impart mechanical loading to 3D cellularized constructs.  We chose to study the response of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to mechanical forces in 2D (via the mechanical panel) and 3D (via the Tissue Train). We have found, among other things, that MSCs can differentiate towards smooth cell phenotype under the cyclic stretch both in 2D and 3D.               
Related publications   

1.    Maul TM, Chew DW, Nieponice A, Vorp DA, “Mechanical stimuli differentially control stem cell behavior: morphology, proliferation, and differentiation” Biomech Model Mechanobiol, 2011 Dec;10(6): 939-953, PMID: 21253809, PMCID: PMC3208754