Cells under pressure - the relationship between hydrostatic pressure and mesenchymal stem cell chondrogenesis

G. Pattappa, J. Zellner, B. Johnstone, D. Docheva, P. Angele

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Early osteoarthritis (OA), characterised by cartilage defects, is a degenerative disease that greatly affects the adult population. Cell-based tissue engineering methods are being explored as a solution for the treatment of these chondral defects. Chondrocytes are already in clinical use but other cell types with chondrogenic properties, such as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), are being researched. However, present methods for differentiating these cells into stable articular-cartilage chondrocytes that contribute to joint regeneration are not effective, despite extensive investigation. Environmental stimuli, such as mechanical forces, influence chondrogenic response and are beneficial with respect to matrix formation. In vivo, the cartilage is subjected to multiaxial loading involving compressive, tensile, shear and fluid flow and cellular response. Tissue formation mechanobiology is being intensively studied in the cartilage tissue-engineering research field. The study of the effects of hydrostatic pressure on cartilage formation belongs to the large area of mechanobiology. During cartilage loading, interstitial fluid is pressurised and the surrounding matrix delays pressure loss by reducing fluid flow rate from pressurised regions. This fluid pressurisation is known as hydrostatic pressure, where a uniform stress around the cell occurs without cellular deformation. In vitro studies, examining chondrocytes under hydrostatic pressure, have described its anabolic effect and similar studies have evaluated the effect of hydrostatic pressure on MSC chondrogenesis. The present review summarises the results of these studies and discusses the mechanisms through which hydrostatic pressure exerts its effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-381
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean cells & materials
StatePublished - May 6 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cell Biology


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