[Journal of Biomechanics] Microfluidic co-culture platform for investigating osteocyte-osteoclast si
Bone cells exist in a complex environment where they are constantly exposed to numerous dynamic biochemical and mechanical stimuli. These stimuli regulate bone cells that are involved in various bone disorders, such as osteoporosis. Knowledge of how these stimuli affect bone cells have been utilised to develop various treatments, such as pharmaceuticals, hormone therapy, and exercise. To investigate the role that bone loading has on these disorders in vitro, bone cell mechanotransduction studies are typically performed using parallel plate flow chambers (PPFC). However, these chambers do not allow for dynamic cellular interactions among different cell populations to be investigated. We present a microfluidic approach that exposes different cell populations, which are located at physiologically relevant distances within adjacent channels, to different levels of fluid shear stress, and promotes cell-cell communication between the different channels. We employed this microfluidic system to assess mechanically regulated osteocyte-osteoclast communication. Osteoclast precursors (RAW264.7 cells) responded to cytokine gradients (e.g., RANKL, OPG, PGE-2) developed by both mechanically stimulated (fOCY) and unstimulated (nOCY) osteocyte-like MLO-Y4 cells simultaneously. Specifically, we observed increased osteoclast precursor cell densities and osteoclast differentiation towards nOCY. We also used this system to show an increased mechanoresponse of osteocytes when in co-culture with osteoclasts. We envision broad applicability of the presented approach for microfluidic perfusion co-culture of multiple cell types in the presence of fluid flow stimulation, and as a tool to investigate osteocyte mechanotransduction, as well as bone metastasis extravasation. This system could also be applied to any multi-cell population cross-talk studies that are typically performed using PPFCs (e.g. endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and fibroblasts).
K. Middletona, S. Al-Dujailia, X. Meib, A. Günthera, b, L. Youa, b, , a Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, 164 College Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G9, Canada b Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 King’s College Road, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8, Canada Accepted 13 May 2017, Available online 18 May 2017 Show less https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.05.012