Oscillating fluid flow regulates cytosolic calcium concentration in bovine articular chondrocytes

Maximilian Edlich, Clare E Yellowley-genetos, Christopher R. Jacobs, Henry J. Donahue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Mechanical loading is a well-known regulator of cartilage metabolism. This suggests that a loading-induced physical signal regulates chondrocyte behavior. Previous studies have focused on the effects of steady fluid flow on chondrocytes. In contrast to steady flow, loading induced fluid flow occurs in an oscillatory pattern and includes a reversal of flow direction with each loading event. In this study we examined the hypothesis that oscillating fluid flow increases cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+](i)) in bovine articular chondrocytes (BAC) in a frequency-dependent manner and that the presence of serum affects this response. The aims of our study were to examine (1) whether BAC respond to physiologic oscillating fluid flow in vitro and compare these results to steady fluid flow, (2) the effect of fetal bovine serum on fluid flow responsiveness of BAC and (3) whether the response of BAC to fluid flow is flow rate and/or frequency dependent. [Ca2+](i) was quantified using the fluorescent dye fura-2. BAC were exposed to steady, 0.5, 1, or 5Hz sinusoidal oscillating fluid flow at five different flow rates in a parallel plate flow chamber. Our findings demonstrate that BAC respond to oscillating fluid flow with an increase in [Ca2+](i) (p>0.05), and furthermore, chondrocyte responsiveness to fluid flow increases with peak flow rate (p<0.0001) and decreases with increasing frequencies (p<0.0001). Finally, the presence of serum in the media potentiated the responsiveness of BAC to fluid flow (p<0.0001). Our results suggest an important role for mechanical load-induced oscillating fluid flow in chondrocyte mechanotransduction. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-65
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium
  • Chondrocytes
  • Fluid flow
  • In vitro
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Shear stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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