Osteocyte Characterization on Polydimethylsiloxane Substrates for Microsystems Applications
In the body, osteocytes reside in lacunae, lenticular shaped cavities within mineralized bone. These cells are linked to each other and surface-residing osteoblasts via physical channels known as gap junctions. It has been suggested that osteocytes sense mechanical load applied to bone and relay that signal to osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Current in vitro and in vivo models of mechanotransduction face temporal and spatial barriers. Recent advances in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) based microfabrication techniques may be able to overcome some of these hurdles. However, before the bone research field can effectively utilize microsystems techniques, fundamental groundwork must be completed. This study characterized the behaviour of osteocytes on PDMS coated with collagen type I (CTI) and provides the framework for bone cell mechanotransduction studies using microsystems. The goal was to determine whether osteocytes were adversely affected by the substrate material by comparing their behaviour to a standard glass substrate. In addition, optimal culture conditions and time points for growing osteocytes on PDMS substrates were determined. Results of this study suggested that use of PDMS does not adversely affect osteocyte behaviour. Furthermore, the results demonstrated that osteocytes should be cultured for no less than 72 hours prior to experimentation to allow the establishment and maintenance of phenotypic characteristics. These results completed essential groundwork necessary for further studies regarding osteocytes in microsystems modelling utilizing PDMS.
S. L. York et al., "Osteocyte Characterization on Polydimethylsiloxane Substrates for Microsystems Applications", Journal of Biomimetics, Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, Vol. 16, pp. 27-42, 2012