Effects of proliferation and differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells on compressive mechanical behavior of collagen/β-TCP composite scaffold

Takaaki Arahira, Mitsugu Todo

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41 Citations (Scopus)


The primary aim of this study is to characterize the effects of cell culture on the compressive mechanical behavior of the collagen/β-tricalcium phosphate (TCP) composite scaffold. The composite and pure collagen scaffolds were fabricated by the solid-liquid phase separation technique and the subsequent freeze-drying method. Rat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (rMSCs) were then cultured in these scaffolds up to 28 days. Compression test of the scaffolds with rMSCs were conducted periodically. Biological properties such as cell number, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, and gene expressions of osteogenetic bone markers were evaluated during cell culture. The microstructural changes in the scaffolds during cell culture were also examined using a scanning electron microscope. The compressive elastic modulus was then correlated with those of the biological properties and microstructures to understand the mechanism of variational behavior of the macroscopic elastic property. The composite scaffold exhibited higher ALP activity and more active generation of osteoblastic markers than the collagen scaffold, indicating that β-TCP can activate the differentiation of rMSCs into osteoblasts and extracellular matrix (ECM) formation such as type I collagen and the following mineralization. The variational behavior of the compressive modulus of the composite scaffold was affected by both the material degradation and the proliferation of cells and the ECM formation. In the first stage, the modulus of the composite scaffold tended to increase due to cell proliferation and the following formation of network structure. In the second stage, the modulus tended to decrease because the material degradation such as ductile deformation of collagen and decomposition of β-TCP were more effective on the property than the ECM formation. In the third stage, active calcification by formation and growth of mineralized nodules resulted in the recovery of modulus. It is concluded that the introduction of β-TCP powder into the porous collagen matrix is very effective to improve the mechanical and biological properties of collagen scaffold prepared for bone tissue engineering. Furthermore, the compressive modulus of the composite scaffold is strongly affected by the material degradation and the ECM formation by stem cells under in vitro culture condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-230
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials

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