Cell-matrix interactions regulate mesenchymal stem cell response to hydrostatic pressure.
2153 - 2159
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Both hydrostatic pressure (HP) and cell-matrix interactions have independently been shown to regulate the chondrogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that the response of MSCs to hydrostatic pressure will depend on the biomaterial within which the cells are encapsulated. Bone-marrow-derived MSCs were seeded into either agarose or fibrin hydrogels and exposed to 10 MPa of cyclic HP (1 Hz, 4 h per day, 5 days per week for 3 weeks) in the presence of either 1 or 10 ng ml(-1) of TGF-β3. Agarose hydrogels were found to support a spherical cellular morphology, while MSCs seeded into fibrin hydrogels attached and spread, with clear stress fiber formation. Hydrogel contraction was also observed in MSC-fibrin constructs. While agarose hydrogels better supported chondrogenesis of MSCs, HP only enhanced sulfated glycosaminoglycan (sGAG) accumulation in fibrin hydrogels, which correlated with a reduction in fibrin contraction. HP also reduced alkaline phosphatase activity in the media for both agarose and fibrin constructs, suggesting that this stimulus plays a role in the maintenance of the chondrogenic phenotype. This study demonstrates that a complex relationship exists between cell-matrix interactions and hydrostatic pressure, which plays a key role in regulating the chondrogenic differentiation of MSCs.