Effects of cyclic stretch on proliferation of mesenchymal stem cells and their differentiation to smooth muscle cells

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Oct 23;388(3):601-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.08.072. Epub 2009 Aug 18.


Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are capable of differentiating into a variety of cell types such as vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs). In this study, we investigated influence of cyclic stretch on proliferation of hMSCs for different loading conditions, alignment of actin filaments, and consequent differentiation to SMCs. Isolated cells from bone marrow were exposed to cyclic stretch utilizing a customized device. Cell proliferation was examined by MTT assay, alignment of actin fibers by a designed image processing code, and cell differentiation by fluorescence staining. Results indicated promoted proliferation of hMSCs by cyclic strain, enhanced by elevated strain amplitude and number of cycles. Such loading regulated smooth muscle alpha-actin, and reoriented actin fibers. Cyclic stretch led to differentiation of hMSCs to SMCs without addition of growth factor. It was concluded that applying appropriate loading treatment on hMSCs could enhance proliferation capability, and produce functional SMCs for engineered tissues.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Humans
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / cytology*
  • Stress, Mechanical*
  • Tissue Engineering


  • Actins