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How Linear Tension Converts to Curvature: Geometric Control of Bone Tissue Growth

By Cécile M. Bidan, Krishna P. Kommareddy, Monika Rumpler, Philip Kollmannsberger, Yves J. M. Bréchet, Peter Fratzl and John W. C. Dunlop


This study investigated how substrate geometry influences in-vitro tissue formation at length scales much larger than a single cell. Two-millimetre thick hydroxyapatite plates containing circular pores and semi-circular channels of 0.5 mm radius, mimicking osteons and hemi-osteons respectively, were incubated with MC3T3-E1 cells for 4 weeks. The amount and shape of the tissue formed in the pores, as measured using phase contrast microscopy, depended on the substrate geometry. It was further demonstrated, using a simple geometric model, that the observed curvature-controlled growth can be derived from the assembly of tensile elements on a curved substrate. These tensile elements are cells anchored on distant points of the curved surface, thus creating an actin “chord” by generating tension between the adhesion sites. Such a chord model was used to link the shape of the substrate to cell organisation and tissue patterning. In a pore with a circular cross-section, tissue growth increases the average curvature of the surface, whereas a semi-circular channel tends to be flattened out. Thereby, a single mechanism could describe new tissue growth in both cortical and trabecular bone after resorption due to remodelling. These similarities between in-vitro and in-vivo patterns suggest geometry as an important signal for bone remodelling

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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