Biomechanics and modeling in mechanobiology | 12 Apr 2015
AK Kureshi, A Afoke, S Wohlert, S Barker and RA Brown
Native collagen gels are important biomimetic cell support scaffolds, and a plastic compression process can now be used to rapidly remove fluid to any required collagen density, producing strong 3D tissue-like models. This study aimed to measure the mechanical creep properties of such scaffolds and to quantify any enhanced creep occurring in the presence of cells (cell-mediated creep). The test rig developed applies constant creep tension during culture and measures real-time extension due to cell action. This was used to model extracellular matrix creep, implicated in the transversalis fascia (TF) in inguinal hernia. Experiments showed that at an applied tension equivalent to 15 % break strength, cell-mediated creep over 24-h culture periods was identified at creep rates of 0.46 and 0.38 %/h for normal TF and human dermal fibroblasts, respectively. However, hernia TF fibroblasts produced negligible cell-mediated creep levels under the same conditions. Raising the cell culture temperature from 4 to [Formula: see text] was used to demonstrate live cell dependence of this creep. This represents the first in vitro demonstration of TF cell-mediated collagen creep and to our knowledge the first demonstration of a functional, hernia-related cell abnormality.
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