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International Journal of Biomaterials
Volume 2010, Article ID 947232, 10 pages
Research Article

Elastic Membrane That Undergoes Mechanical Deformation Enhances Osteoblast Cellular Attachment and Proliferation

1Center for Bioactive Materials and Tissue Engineering, Department of Bioengineering, SEAS, University of Pennsylvania, 210S 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
2Department of Materials Science and Engineering, SEAS, University of Pennsylvania, 321 LRSM, Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
3Department of Bioengineering, SEAS, University of Pennsylvania, 115 Hayden Hall, 210S 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

Received 30 October 2009; Revised 23 February 2010; Accepted 16 April 2010

Academic Editor: Mohamed Rahaman

Copyright © 2010 G. K. Toworfe 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.


The main objective of this paper was to investigate the effect of transmission of force on bone cells that were attached to a deformable membrane. We functionalized a silastic membrane that measured 0.005 inches thickness and coated it with an extra cellular matrix (ECM) protein, fibronectin (FN). MC3T3-E1 osteoblast-like cells were cultured on the functionalized FN-coated membrane after which cell attachment and proliferation were evaluated. We observed an immediate attachment and proliferation of the bone cells on the functionalized membrane coated with FN, after 24 hours. Upon application of a mechanical force to cells cultured on the functionalized silicone membrane in the form of a dynamic equibiaxial strain, 2% magnitude; at 1-Hz frequency for 2 h, the osteoblast cells elicited slightly elevated phalloidin fluorescence, suggesting that there was reorganization of the cytoskeleton. We concluded from this preliminary data obtained that the engineered surface transduced applied mechanical forces directly to the adherent osteoblast cells via integrin binding tripeptide receptors, present in the FN molecules, resulting in the enhanced cellular attachment and proliferation.