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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 748121, 10 pages
Research Article

Hypergravity Stimulation Enhances PC12 Neuron-Like Cell Differentiation

1Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Center for Micro-BioRobotics @SSSA, Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025 Pontedera (Pisa), Italy
2ASAcampus Joint Laboratory, ASA Research Division, Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical Sciences, University of Florence, Viale Pieraccini 6, 50139 Florence, Italy

Received 4 November 2014; Revised 8 January 2015; Accepted 27 January 2015

Academic Editor: Aijun Wang

Copyright © 2015 Giada Graziana Genchi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Altered gravity is a strong physical cue able to elicit different cellular responses, representing a largely uninvestigated opportunity for tissue engineering/regenerative medicine applications. Our recent studies have shown that both proliferation and differentiation of C2C12 skeletal muscle cells can be enhanced by hypergravity treatment; given these results, PC12 neuron-like cells were chosen to test the hypothesis that hypergravity stimulation might also affect the behavior of neuronal cells, in particular promoting an enhanced differentiated phenotype. PC12 cells were thus cultured under differentiating conditions for either 12 h or 72 h before being stimulated with different values of hypergravity (50 g and 150 g). Effects of hypergravity were evaluated at transcriptional level 1 h and 48 h after the stimulation, and at protein level 48 h from hypergravity exposure, to assess its influence on neurite development over increasing differentiation times. PC12 differentiation resulted strongly affected by the hypergravity treatments; in particular, neurite length was significantly enhanced after exposure to high acceleration values. The achieved results suggest that hypergravity might induce a faster and higher neuronal differentiation and encourage further investigations on the potential of hypergravity in the preparation of cellular constructs for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering purposes.