Biomedical Microdevices

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 789–798 | Cite as

Development of high-throughput perfusion-based microbioreactor platform capable of providing tunable dynamic tensile loading to cells and its application for the study of bovine articular chondrocytes

  • Min-Hsien Wu
  • Hsin-Yao Wang
  • Heng-Liang Liu
  • Shih-Siou Wang
  • Yen-Ting Liu
  • Yan-Ming Chen
  • Shiao-Wen Tsai
  • Chun-Li Lin


Mammalian cells are sensitive to extracellular microenvironments. In order to precisely explore the physiological responses of cells to tensile loading, a stable and well-defined culture condition is required. In this study, a high-throughput perfusion-based microbioreactor platform capable of providing dynamic equibiaxial tensile loading to the cultured cells under a steady culture condition was proposed. The mechanism of generating tensile stimulation to cells is based on the pneumatically-driven deformation of an elastic polydimethylsiloxan (PDMS) membrane which exerts tensile loading to the attached cells. By modulating the magnitude and frequency of the applied pneumatic pressure, various tensile loading can be generated in a controllable manner. In this study, the microbioreactor platform was designed with the aid of the experimentally-validated finite element (FE) analysis to ensure the loading of tensile strain to cells is uniform and definable. Based on this design, the quantitative relationship between the applied pneumatic pressure and the generated tensile strain on the PDMS membrane was established via FE analysis. Results demonstrated that the proposed device was able to generate the tensile strain range (0~0.12), which covers the physiological condition that articular chondrocytes experience tensile strain under human walking condition. In this study, moreover, the effect of tensile loading on the metabolic, biosynthetic and proliferation activities of articular chondrocytes was investigated. Results disclosed that the dynamic tensile loading of 0.12 strain at 1 Hz might significantly up-regulate the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans while such stimulation was found no significant influence on the metabolic activity, the synthesis of collagen, and the proliferation of chondrocytes. Overall, this study has presented a high throughput perfusion micro cell culture device that is suitable for precisely exploring the effect of tensile loading on cell physiology.


Microbioreactors Tensile strain Mechanical stimulations Perfusion culture High throughput Articular chondrocytes 



The authors would like to thank financial support from the National Science Council in Taiwan (97-2218-E-182-002 MY2) and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CMRPD170281 and CMRPD170282).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Min-Hsien Wu
    • 1
  • Hsin-Yao Wang
    • 2
  • Heng-Liang Liu
    • 3
  • Shih-Siou Wang
    • 1
  • Yen-Ting Liu
    • 1
  • Yan-Ming Chen
    • 1
  • Shiao-Wen Tsai
    • 1
  • Chun-Li Lin
    • 4
  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Biochemical and Biomedical EngineeringChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanTaiwan
  2. 2.School of MedicineChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical EngineeringChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of Biomedical EngineeringNational Yang-Ming UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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