Mechanical signal influence on mesenchymal stem cell fate is enhanced by incorporation of refractory periods into the loading regimen

J Biomech. 2011 Feb 24;44(4):593-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.11.022. Epub 2010 Dec 4.


Mechanical signals of both low and high intensity are inhibitory to fat and anabolic to bone in vivo, and have been shown to directly affect mesenchymal stem cell pools from which fat and bone precursors emerge. To identify an idealized mechanical regimen which can regulate MSC fate, low intensity vibration (LIV; <10 microstrain, 90 Hz) and high magnitude strain (HMS; 20,000 microstrain, 0.17 Hz) were examined in MSC undergoing adipogenesis. Two x twenty minute bouts of either LIV or HMS suppressed adipogenesis when there was at least a 1h refractory period between bouts; this effect was enhanced when the rest period was extended to 3h. Mechanical efficacy to inhibit adipogenesis increased with additional loading bouts if a refractory period was incorporated. Mechanical suppression of adipogenesis with LIV involved inhibition of GSK3β with subsequent activation of β-catenin as has been shown for HMS. These data indicate that mechanical biasing of MSC lineage selection is more dependent on event scheduling than on load magnitude or duration. As such, a full day of rest should not be required to "reset" the mechanical responsiveness of MSCs, and suggests that incorporating several brief mechanical challenges within a 24h period may improve salutary endpoints in vivo. That two diverse mechanical inputs are enhanced by repetition after a refractory period suggests that rapid cellular adaptation can be targeted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology*
  • Adipocytes / physiology*
  • Adipogenesis / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / physiology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Stress, Mechanical