Humanoid robots to mechanically stress human cells grown in soft bioreactors
Mouthuy P-A., Snelling S., Hostettler R., Kharchenko A., Salmon S., Wainman A., Mimpen J., Paul C., Carr A.
AbstractFor more than 20 years, robotic bioreactor systems have facilitated the growth of tissue-engineered constructs using mechanical stimulation. However, we are still unable to produce functional grafts that can translate into clinical use. Humanoid robots offer the prospect of providing physiologically-relevant mechanical stimulation to grafts and implants which may expedite their clinical deployment. To investigate the feasibility of a humanoid bioreactor, we have designed a flexible bioreactor chamber that can be attached to a modified musculoskeletal (MSK) humanoid robot shoulder joint. We demonstrate that fibroblast cells can be grown in this chamber while undergoing physiological adduction-abduction on the robotic arm. A preliminary evaluation of the transcriptome of the cells after 14 days indicated a clear influence of the loading regime on the gene expression profile. These early results will facilitate the exploration of MSK humanoid robots as a biomechanically more realistic platform for tissue engineering and biomaterial testing applications.