Effects of fluid flow on intracellular calcium in bovine articular chondrocytes

Clare E Yellowley-genetos, Christopher R. Jacobs, Zhongyong Li, Zhiyi Zhou, Henry J. Donahue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Fluid flow-induced shear stress results in a variety of morphological and metabolic changes in cultured bovine articular chondrocytes (BAC). However, the mechanism by which the flow signal is transduced into a biological response is unknown. Therefore, we investigated the effects of fluid flow on intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+](i)) in BAC. Cells loaded with fura 2 were exposed to steady and pulsatile (0.5 Hz) flow at 9, 18, and 34 ml/min in a parallel-plate flow chamber. In response to flow, there was a significant and flow rate-dependent increase in the percentage of cells showing a rise in [Ca2+](i), but no effect on the [Ca2+](i) response amplitude. There was no significant difference between the [Ca2+](i) responses to steady and pulsatile flow. Mean intracellular Ca2+ response values ranged between 26.2 ± 1.6 (9 ml/min) and 38.0 ± 6.8 nM (34 ml/min) above basal [Ca2+](i) (81.3 ± 24.1 nM; n = 90). Removal of extracellular Ca2+ or addition of Gd3+ significantly reduced the percentage of cells responding, suggesting that influx of Ca2+, possibly through mechanosensitive channels, contributes to the rise in intracellular Ca2+. Our data suggest fluid flow-induced mobilization of intracellular Ca2+ may contribute to the mechanism by which mechanical loads are transduced by chondrocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number1 42-1
StatePublished - Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium oscillations
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Shear stress
  • Stretch-activated ion channels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of fluid flow on intracellular calcium in bovine articular chondrocytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this