Mechanical Stimulation of Growth Plate Chondrocytes: Previous Approaches and Future Directions

D. Lee, A. Erickson, A. T. Dudley, S. Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Growth plate cartilage resides near the ends of long bones and is the primary driver of skeletal growth. During growth, both intrinsically and extrinsically generated mechanical stresses act on chondrocytes in the growth plate. Although the role of mechanical stresses in promoting tissue growth and homeostasis has been strongly demonstrated in articular cartilage of the major skeletal joints, effects of stresses on growth plate cartilage and bone growth are not well established. Here, we review the literature on mechanobiology in growth plate cartilage at macroscopic and microscopic scales, with particular emphasis on comparison of results obtained using different methodological approaches, as well as from whole animal and in vitro experiments. To answer these questions, macroscopic mechanical stimulators have been developed and applied to study mechanobiology of growth plate cartilage and chondrocytes. However, the previous approaches have tested a limited number of stress conditions, and the mechanobiology of a single chondrocyte has not been well studied due to limitations of the macroscopic mechanical stimulators. We explore how microfluidics devices can overcome these limitations and improve current understanding of growth plate chondrocyte mechanobiology. In particular, microfluidic devices can generate multiple stress conditions in a single platform and enable real-time monitoring of metabolism and cellular behavior using optical microscopy. Systematic characterization of the chondrocytes using microfluidics will enhance our understanding of how to use mechanical stresses to control the bone growth and the properties of tissue-engineered growth plate cartilage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1261-1274
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental Mechanics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Bone growth
  • Growth plate chondrocyte
  • Mechanobiology
  • Microfluidics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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