Understanding strain-induced collagen matrix development in engineered cardiovascular tissues from gene expression profiles

Geemen, Daphne; Driessen-Mol, Anita; Baaijens, Frank; Bouten, Carlijn
June 2013
Cell & Tissue Research;Jun2013, Vol. 352 Issue 3, p727
Academic Journal
Mechanical conditioning is often used to enhance collagen synthesis, remodeling and maturation and, hence, the structural and mechanical properties of engineered cardiovascular tissues. Intermittent straining, i.e., alternating periods of cyclic and static strain, has previously been shown to result in more mature tissue compared with continuous cyclic straining. Nevertheless, the underlying mechanism is unknown. We have determined the short-term effects of continuous cyclic strain and of cyclic strain followed by static strain at the gene expression level to improve insight into the mechano-regulatory mechanism of intermittent conditioning on collagen synthesis, remodeling and maturation. Tissue-engineered constructs, consisting of human vascular-derived cells seeded onto rapidly degrading PGA/P4HB scaffolds, were conditioned with 4% strain at 1 Hz for 3 h in order to study the immediate effects of cyclic strain ( n=18). Next, the constructs were either subjected to ongoing cyclic strain (4% at 1 Hz; n=9) or to static strain ( n=9). Expression levels of genes involved in collagen synthesis, remodeling and maturation were studied at various time points up to 24 h within each straining protocol. The results indicate that a period of static strain following cyclic strain favors collagen synthesis and remodeling, whereas ongoing cyclic strain shifts this balance toward collagen remodeling and maturation. The data suggest that, with prolonged culture, the conditioning protocol should be changed from intermittent straining to continuous cyclic straining to improve collagen maturation after its synthesis and, hence, the tissue (mechanical) properties.


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