Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Encapsulated Chondrocyte Response to Pulsatile Flow Bioreactor



James A. Cooper, W Li, L A. Bailey, Steven D. Hudson, Sheng Lin-Gibson, Kristi S. Anseth, Rocky Tuan, N Washburn


We have developed a bioreactor using microfluidic techniques that allow for dynamic culture conditions and measurement of the fluid flow impinging upon a three-dimensional (3-D) tissue engineering (TE) scaffold. Chondrocytes in scaffolds have been shown to require mechanical stimulation to produce an extracellular matrix that resembles native cartilage. This study investigates the effect of pulsatile flow on chondrocyte response in a model 3-D hydrogel system. Bovine chondrocytes were encapsulated in a poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate (PEGDM) hydrogel and cultured for 7 d, 14 d and 21 d at flow rates of 15 mL/min and 17 mL/min and compared to scaffolds cultured under static (non-flow) conditions. Quantitative Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) was used to quantify collagen type I, collagen type II and aggrecan gene copy numbers as markers for chondrocyte phenotypic expression. Histological sections stained with Hematoxylin and Eosin, and Alcian blue confirmed chondrocyte morphology and matrix formation. Interestingly, regulation of the collagen type II gene was particularly sensitive to the flow conditions. The understanding of cell response to encapsulation and flow could be used to identify the appropriate culture conditions necessary to design and develop hydrogel carriers to promote formation of extracellular matrix as well as to further our knowledge of chondrocyte mechanobiology.
Acta Biomaterialia


biomaterials, cartilage, poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels, three-dimensional scaffold, tissue engineering


Cooper, J. , Li, W. , Bailey, L. , Hudson, S. , Lin-Gibson, S. , Anseth, K. , Tuan, R. and Washburn, N. (2006), Encapsulated Chondrocyte Response to Pulsatile Flow Bioreactor, Acta Biomaterialia, [online], (Accessed March 4, 2024)
Created August 16, 2006, Updated February 19, 2017