Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics Research Group

Comunications - Poster

Modulating tendon cell behaviour under simulated hypergravity: what happens to regeneration when increasing the g-force?


Besides biochemical signals and topography, mechanical forces play a role in native tendon niche, as well as in tissue repair. Indeed, during body movements, muscles transmit generated forces to tendons and, thus, different tendons are subjected to distinct mechanical loads and, even on the same tendon, different activities can induce different levels of forces. Overall, loading and gravity have essential effects, yet to be fully understood, on the development and homeostasis of several tissues in the human body, particularly of the musculoskeletal system. On the contrary, microgravity is known to accelerate some aspects of senescence, being considered a model for the replication of mechanisms involved in ageing biology. For instance, unloading and simulated microgravity result in a reduction of tendon mechanical properties, including stiffness and Young’s modulus. On the other hand, no studies using hypergravity conditions have so far been focused on tendon cells and their biology.

In the present study, we propose to evaluate the influence of increasing g-levels (5g, 10g, 15g and 20g) and different hypergravity exposure periods (4 and 16 h) on the behaviour of human tendon-derived cells (hTDCs). For this purpose, hTDCs were cultured in 2D, either in tissue culture plastic or onto platelet lysate (PL)-membranes and exposed to hypergravity conditions using the Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) from the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC, ESA, The Netherlands). The effects of hypergravity on the viability of hTDCs, as well as on the expression of tendon related markers, both at gene and protein levels, and on the secretion of growth factors will be evaluated.

Indeed, not only mechanical forces are known to influence the regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues but also PL constitutes a pool of bioactive molecules that participate in biological processes, having a role in tissue repair and regeneration. Thus, the combined effect of these cues is expected to be beneficial towards the development of a regenerative niche for tendon applications.



The authors would like to thank ESA Education Office for Spin Your Thesis! 2016 programme. R.C-A acknowledges the PhD grant SFRH/BD/96593/2013 from FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia.


TermStem 2016
Hypergravity, tendon cells
Open Access
Peer Reviewed
Year of Publication
Date Published
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