The application of low shear modeled microgravity to 3-D cell biology and tissue engineering
Navran, S. (2008). "The application of low shear modeled microgravity to 3-D cell biology and tissue engineering."
The practice of cell culture has been virtually unchanged for 100 years. Until recently, life scientists have had to content themselves with two-dimensional cell culture technology. Clearly, living creatures are not constructed in two dimensions and thus it has become widely recognized that in vitro culture systems must become three dimensional to correctly model in vivo biology. Attempts to modify conventional 2-D culture technology to accommodate 3-D cell growth such as embedding cells in extracellular matrix have demonstrated the superiority of concept. Nevertheless, there are serious drawbacks to this approach including limited mass transport and lack of scalability. Recently, a new cell culture technology developed at NASA to study the effects of microgravity on cells has emerged to solve many of the problems of 3-D cell culture. The technology, the Rotating Wall Vessel (RWV) is a single axis clinostat consisting of a fluid-filled, cylindrical, horizontally rotating culture vessel. Cells placed in this environment are suspended by the resolution of the gravitational, centrifugal and Coriolis forces with extremely low mechanical shear. These conditions, which have been called “low shear modeled microgravity”, enable cells to assemble into tissue-like aggregates with high mass transport of nutrients, oxygen and wastes. Examples of the use of the RWV for basic cell biology research and tissue engineering applications are discussed.