Effect of Rotation on Scaffold Motion and Cell Growth in Rotating Bioreactors

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Varley, MC 
Markaki, AE 
Brooks, RA 

Efficient use of different bioreactor designs to improve cell growth in three-dimensional scaffolds requires an understanding of their mechanism of action. To address this for rotating wall vessel bioreactors, fluid and scaffold motion were investigated experimentally at different rotation speeds and vessel fill volumes. Low cost bioreactors with single and dual axis rotation were developed to investigate the effect of these systems on human osteoblast proliferation in free floating and constrained collagen-glycosaminoglycan porous scaffolds. A range of scaffold motions (free fall, periodic oscillation, and orbital motion) were observed at the rotation speeds and vessel fluid/air ratios used, with 85% fluid fill and an outer vessel wall velocity of ∼14 mm s−1 producing a scaffold in a free fall state. The cell proliferation results showed that after 14 and 21 days of culture, this combination of fluid fill and speed of rotation produced significantly greater cell numbers in the scaffolds than when lower or higher rotation speeds (p < 0.002) or when the chamber was 60% or 100% full (p < 0.01). The fluid flow and scaffold motion experiments show that biaxial rotation would not improve the mass transfer of medium into the scaffold as the second axis of rotation can only transition the scaffold toward oscillatory or orbital motion and, hence, reduce mass transport to the scaffold. The cell culture results confirmed that there was no benefit to the second axis of rotation with no significant difference in cell proliferation either when the scaffolds were free floating or constrained (p > 0.05).

bioreactor, rotating wall vessel, biaxial, collagen scaffold, fluid flow, cell proliferation
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Tissue Engineering Part A
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Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
European Research Council (240446)
This research was supported by the European Research Council (Grant No. 240446) and the EPSRC (EP/E025862/1). Financial support for M.C.V. and R.A.B. has been provided through the WD Armstrong studentship and the National Institute for Health Research, respectively.