Porous Geometry Guided Micro-mechanical Environment Within Scaffolds for Cell Mechanobiology Study in Bone Tissue Engineering

Feihu Zhao, Yi Xiong, Keita Ito, Bert van Rietbergen and Sandra Hofmann

Published: 14 September 2021


Mechanobiology research is for understanding the role of mechanics in cell physiology and pathology. It will have implications for studying bone physiology and pathology and to guide the strategy for regenerating both the structural and functional features of bone. Mechanobiological studies in vitro apply a dynamic micro-mechanical environment to cells via bioreactors. Porous scaffolds are commonly used for housing the cells in a three-dimensional (3D) culturing environment. Such scaffolds usually have different pore geometries (e.g. with different pore shapes, pore dimensions and porosities). These pore geometries can affect the internal micro-mechanical environment that the cells experience when loaded in the bioreactor. Therefore, to adjust the applied micro-mechanical environment on cells, researchers can tune either the applied load and/or the design of the scaffold pore geometries. This review will provide information on how the micro-mechanical environment (e.g. fluid-induced wall shear stress and mechanical strain) is affected by various scaffold pore geometries within different bioreactors. It shall allow researchers to estimate/quantify the micro-mechanical environment according to the already known pore geometry information, or to find a suitable pore geometry according to the desirable micro-mechanical environment to be applied. Finally, as future work, artificial intelligent – assisted techniques, which can achieve an automatic design of solid porous scaffold geometry for tuning/optimising the micro-mechanical environment are suggested.

Full Access Link: Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology