Does hydrogel-cell construct viscoelasticity affect ECM production?
Low back pain is one of the most prevailing medical concerns and can often be associated with the degeneration of the intervertebral disc. This degeneration results in a loss of biological and mechanical properties, especially a loss of viscoelastic properties. In the present study a correlation between viscoelasticity of a hydrogel-cell construct and the extracellular matrix production is researched. Therefore, a model that mimics the real intervertebral disc, composed of a confined hydrogel, is developed. The first part of the project is focalized on the biocompatibility of the confinement chamber. The second part will focalize on the extracellular matrix production from a hydrogel-cell construct submitted to dynamical mechanical stimulations and the viscoelastic properties of theses constructs. Thereby, a multiwell stimulator was developed and 4 different stimulations were performed during 1 month. The stimulations do not seem having great effects on the extracellular matrix production. This study demonstrates also the feasibility to stimulate hydrogel-cell constructs for 1 month, and to use a novel device for stimulation: the multiwell stimulator.