|Validation of a new fluidic device for mechanical stimulation and characterization of microspheres: A first step towards cartilage characterization |
(Article) Publié: Materials Science And Engineering, vol. p.111800 (2020)
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Articular cartilage is made of chondrocytes surrounded by their extracellular matrix that can both sense and respond to various mechanical stimuli. One of the most widely used in vitro model to study cartilage growth is the model of mesenchymal stromal cells-derived cartilage micropellet. However, mechanical stimulation of micropellets has never been reported probably because of their small size and imperfect round shape. The objective of the study was to develop an original custom-made device allowing both the mechanical stimulation and characterization of cartilage micropellets. The fluidic-based device was designed for the concomitant stimulation or characterization of six microspheres placed into the conical wells of a tank. In the present study, the device was validated using alginate-, collagen- and crosslinked collagen-based microspheres. Different types and ranges of pressure signals (square, sinusoidal and constant) were applied. The mechanical properties of microspheres were equivalent to those determined by a conventional compression test. Accuracy, repeatability and reproducibility of all types of pressure signals were demonstrated even though square signals were less accurate and sinusoidal signals were less reproducible than the others. The interest of this new device lies in the reliability to mechanically stimulate and characterize microspheres with diameters in the range of 900 to 1500 μm. Mechanical stimulation can be performed on six microspheres in parallel allowing the mechanical and molecular characterization of the same group of cartilage micropellets. The device will be useful to evaluate the growth of cartilage micropellets under mechanical stimuli.