Independent, Controllable Stretch-Perfusion Bioreactor Chambers to Functionalize Cell-Seeded Decellularized Tendons

Giuseppe Talò, Daniele D’Arrigo, Sergio Lorenzi, Matteo Moretti, Arianna B. Lovati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tissue-engineered decellularized matrices can progress clinical replacement of full-thickness ruptures or tendon defects. This study develops and validates a custom-made automated bioreactor, called oscillating stretch-perfusion bioreactor (OSPB), consisting of multiple, independent culture chambers able to combine a bidirectional perfusion with a programmable, uniaxial strain to functionalize cell-seeded decellularized tendons. Decellularized tendon matrices were seeded on their surfaces and within the tendon fibers with mesenchymal stem cells. Then, they were subjected to a bidirectional perfusion and programmed stretching cycles of 15–30–60 min on–off two times per day for 7 days of culture. In vitro analyses showed viable cells, homogenously distributed on the surface of the constructs. More importantly, cell-seeded decellularized tendon grafts undergoing cyclic load in our bioreactor had a superior production and organization of newly formed collagen matrix compared to static cultured constructs. The coherency and local alignment of the new collagen deposition within the inner injected channels quantitatively supported histological findings. The designed OSPB could be considered a unique, cost-effective system able to involve multiple independently controlled chambers in terms of biological and mechanical protocols. This system allows parallel processing of several customized tendon constructs to be used as grafts to enhance the surgical repair of large tendon defects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1112-1126
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Collagen matrix
  • Dynamic culture
  • Tissue engineering
  • Uniaxial bioreactor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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