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International Journal of Biomaterials
Volume 2015, Article ID 584362, 12 pages
Research Article

Cellular Nutrition in Complex Three-Dimensional Scaffolds: A Comparison between Experiments and Computer Simulations

1Department of Cell Biology, University Medical Center Rostock, Schillingallee 69, 18057 Rostock, Germany
2University of Applied Sciences Mittelhessen, Wiesenstraße 14, 35390 Giessen, Germany
3Faculty of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Institute for Electronic Appliances and Circuits, University of Rostock, Albert-Einstein-Straße 2, 18059 Rostock, Germany
4Institute for Polymer Technology, Alter Holzhafen 19, 23966 Wismar, Germany
5DOT GmbH, Charles-Darwin-Ring 1a, 18059 Rostock, Germany

Received 14 April 2015; Accepted 30 August 2015

Academic Editor: Claudio Migliaresi

Copyright © 2015 Claudia Bergemann 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.


Studies on bone cell ingrowth into synthetic, porous three-dimensional (3D) implants showed difficulties arising from impaired cellular proliferation and differentiation in the core region of these scaffolds with increasing scaffold volume in vitro. Therefore, we developed an in vitro perfusion cell culture module, which allows the analysis of cells in the interior of scaffolds under different medium flow rates. For each flow rate the cell viability was measured and compared with results from computer simulations that predict the local oxygen supply and shear stress inside the scaffold based on the finite element method. We found that the local cell viability correlates with the local oxygen concentration and the local shear stress. On the one hand the oxygen supply of the cells in the core becomes optimal with a higher perfusion flow. On the other hand shear stress caused by high flow rates impedes cell vitality, especially at the surface of the scaffold. Our results demonstrate that both parameters must be considered to derive an optimal nutrient flow rate.