In vitro osteocytic microdamage and viability quantification using a microloading platform

Academic Article


  • Bone remodeling is a process in which bone is resorbed by osteoclasts and formed by osteoblasts. This is normally a paired process, although it can be disrupted by changes in mechanical load. One theory is that osteocytes play a key role in the cellular regulation of this process. Mechanotransduction studies, which investigate how cells convert mechanical stimuli into biophysical effects and cellular activity, offer one way to investigate this theory. Mechanotransduction work is commonly done by applying an isolated mechanical load to cells grown in vitro, and quantifying the response. While in vitro work does not fully replicate the natural environment, it does allow the study of isolated factors. In this study, a mechanical loading platform was designed, fabricated, and characterized for bone mechanotransduction studies. This platform was designed to tent cell-seeded substrates from below, loading using out of plane distension. This introduced a nonuniform strain profile, enabling the study of cells cultured under identical conditions and variable strains as a function of substrate location. An alphanumerically gridded polydimethylsiloxane well substrate was designed and fabricated for cellular loading experiments. Following initial characterization, a study was run to quantify the cellular activity of osteocyte-like MLO-Y4 cells as a function of strain field. The results indicated that regions with lower strains led to an increase in cellular activity while higher strains led to a reduction in cellular activity. This demonstrated that cells could be exposed to mechanically-induced microdamage using the microloading platform.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • York SL; Sethu P; Saunders MM
  • Start Page

  • 1115
  • End Page

  • 1122
  • Volume

  • 38
  • Issue

  • 10