Intermittent versus continuous stretching effects on osteoblast-like cells in vitro


The objective of this study was to quantify and compare stretch-mediated responses of primary rat osteoblast-like cells to uniform cyclic strain applied intermittently or continuously. Primary rat osteoblast-like cells were seeded and cultured in silicone rubber dishes for 2 days. They were then subjected to 1000 microstrains at 1 Hz for periods of 60 consecutive minutes or to a series of 15-min stretch followed by 15-min rest, until a total stretch of 60 min. After stretching, cells were incubated and assayed on days 4, 8, 16, and 24 for DNA content, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, and calcium (Ca) content. Additionally, qualitative information was obtained via scanning electron and confocal laser scanning micrographs. Significant increases in DNA were observed for cells stretched intermittently versus cells stretched continuously and versus controls. Results showed significant decreases (p < 0.05) in ALP for cells between stretched groups and between both stretched groups versus controls. Additionally, Ca content was greater in cells stretched intermittently versus controls on days 4 and 8 and versus cells stretched continuously on day 24. In conclusion, intermittently strained cells demonstrated significant decreases in ALP and increases in DNA and Ca versus cells strained continuously. This supports the theory that cells respond to mechanical loading in a "trigger-like" response. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publication Title

Journal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A