Incorporating mechanotransduction ability into synthetic 3D bone scaffolds
Development of 3D in vitro models of organ systems to recapitulate their biology and pathophysiology has great potential to enhance scientific discovery. These 3D models have many applications including therapeutic screening or testing responses to environmental modulation. We have previously developed a 3D model of bone that uses human mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) on a poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) polymer scaffold. We demonstrated that this scaffold can mineralize and repair bone defects. However, a key property of bone is the ability to respond to physical forces through the process of mechanotransduction. This is achieved through osteocytes, which are the most common cell in bone, and translate physical forces to regulate osteoblasts, which produce bone mineral, and osteoclasts, which resorb bone mineral. Our goal is to improve our bone model so that it is responsive to mechanical forces. To accomplish our goal, we will create scaffold-based bone with incorporation of murine osteocytes. We will then test these improved scaffolds for their ability to mineralize and to respond to physical forces including pressure and flexion.