Flow perfusion bioreactors have been extensively investigated as a promising culture method for bone tissue engineering, due to improved nutrient delivery and shear force-mediated osteoblastic differentiation. However, a major drawback impeding the transition to clinically-relevant tissue regeneration is the inability to non-destructively monitor constructs during culture. To alleviate this shortcoming, we investigated the distribution of fluid shear forces in scaffolds cultured in flow perfusion bioreactors using computational fluid dynamic techniques, analyzed the effects of scaffold architecture on the shear forces and monitored tissue mineralization throughout the culture period using microcomputed tomography. For this study, we dynamically seeded one million adult rat mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) on 85% porous poly(l
-lactic acid) (PLLA) polymeric spunbonded scaffolds. After taking intermittent samples over 16 days, the constructs were imaged and reconstructed using microcomputed tomography. Fluid dynamic simulations were performed using a custom in-house lattice Boltzmann program. By taking samples at different time points during culture, we are able to monitor the mineralization and resulting changes in flow-induced shear distributions in the porous scaffolds as the constructs mature into bone tissue engineered constructs, which has not been investigated previously in the literature. From the work conducted in this study, we proved that the average shear stress per construct consistently increases as a function of culture time, resulting in an increase at Day 16 of 113%.
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