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Hollweck, Trixi; Akra, Bassil; Häussler, Simon; Überfuhr, Peter; Schmitz, Christoph; Pfeifer, Stefan; Eblenkamp, Markus; Wintermantel, Erich; Eissner, Günther (2011): A novel pulsatile bioreactor for mechanical stimulation of tissue engineered cardiac constructs. In: Journal of Functional Biomaterials, Vol. 2, Nr. 3: S. 107-118


After myocardial infarction, the implantation of stem cell seeded scaffolds on the ischemic zone represents a promising strategy for restoration of heart function. However, mechanical integrity and functionality of tissue engineered constructs need to be determined prior to implantation. Therefore, in this study a novel pulsatile bioreactor mimicking the myocardial contraction was developed to analyze the behavior of mesenchymal stem cells derived from umbilical cord tissue (UCMSC) colonized on titanium-coated polytetrafluorethylene scaffolds to friction stress. The design of the bioreactor enables a simple handling and defined mechanical forces on three seeded scaffolds at physiological conditions. The compact system made of acrylic glass, Teflon®, silicone, and stainless steel allows the comparison of different media, cells and scaffolds. The bioreactor can be gas sterilized and actuated in a standard incubator. Macroscopic observations and pressure-measurements showed a uniformly sinusoidal pulsation, indicating that the bioreactor performed well. Preliminary experiments to determine the adherence rate and morphology of UCMSC after mechanical loadings showed an almost confluent cellular coating without damage on the cell surface. In summary, the bioreactor is an adequate tool for the mechanical stress of seeded scaffolds and offers dynamic stimuli for pre-conditioning of cardiac tissue engineered constructs in vitro.