Tension stimulation drives tissue formation in scaffold-free systems

Jennifer K. Lee, Le W. Huwe, Nikolaos Paschos, Ashkan Aryaei, Courtney A. Gegg, Jerry C. Hu, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Scaffold-free systems have emerged as viable approaches for engineering load-bearing tissues. However, the tensile properties of engineered tissues have remained far below the values for native tissue. Here, by using self-assembled articular cartilage as a model to examine the effects of intermittent and continuous tension stimulation on tissue formation, we show that the application of tension alone, or in combination with matrix remodelling and synthesis agents, leads to neocartilage with tensile properties approaching those of native tissue. Implantation of tension-stimulated tissues results in neotissues that are morphologically reminiscent of native cartilage. We also show that tension stimulation can be translated to a human cell source to generate anisotropic human neocartilage with enhanced tensile properties. Tension stimulation, which results in nearly sixfold improvements in tensile properties over unstimulated controls, may allow the engineering of mechanically robust biological replacements of native tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-873
Number of pages10
JournalNature Materials
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Tension stimulation drives tissue formation in scaffold-free systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this