Tissue engineering. Part A

Physical and biological characterization of ferromagnetic fiber networks: effect of fibrin deposition on short-term in vitro responses of human osteoblasts.

PMID 25145466


Ferromagnetic fiber networks have the potential to deform in vivo imparting therapeutic levels of strain on in-growing periprosthetic bone tissue. 444 Ferritic stainless steel provides a suitable material for this application due to its ability to support cultures of human osteoblasts (HObs) without eliciting undue inflammatory responses from monocytes in vitro. In the present article, a 444 fiber network, containing 17 vol% fibers, has been investigated. The network architecture was obtained by applying a skeletonization algorithm to three-dimensional tomographic reconstructions of the fiber networks. Elastic properties were measured using low-frequency vibration testing, providing globally averaged properties as opposed to mechanical methods that yield only local properties. The optimal region for transduction of strain to cells lies between the ferromagnetic fibers. However, cell attachment, at early time points, occurs primarily on fiber surfaces. Deposition of fibrin, a fibrous protein involved in acute inflammatory responses, can facilitate cell attachment within this optimal region at early time points. The current work compared physiological (3 and 5 g·L(-1)) and supraphysiological fibrinogen concentrations (10 g·L(-1)), using static in vitro seeding of HObs, to determine the effect of fibrin deposition on cell responses during the first week of cell culture. Early cell attachment within the interfiber spaces was observed in all fibrin-containing samples, supported by fibrin nanofibers. Fibrin deposition influenced the seeding, metabolic activity, and early stage differentiation of HObs cultured in the fibrin-containing fiber networks in a concentration-dependant manner. While initial cell attachment for networks with fibrin deposited from low physiological concentrations was similar to control samples without fibrin deposition, significantly higher HObs attached onto high physiological and supraphysiological concentrations. Despite higher cell numbers with supraphysiological concentrations, cell metabolic activities were similar for all fibrinogen concentrations. Further, cells cultured on supraphysiological concentrations exhibited lower cell differentiation as measured by alkaline phosphatase activity at early time points. Overall, the current study suggests that physiological fibrinogen concentrations would be more suitable than supraphysiological concentrations for supporting early cell activity in porous implant coatings.