CarouCELL – a novel compact submerged perfusion bioreactor for drug screening and tissue engineering

M. Foss, D.Q.S. Le
Aarhus University, DK

Keywords: perfusion, 3D cell culture, hMSCs, drug screening


Development of traditional methods of cell growth and manipulation on 2-dimensional (2D) surfaces, have been shown to be far from optimal for new challenges of tissue engineering and drug screening. This has lead to the design of a range of 3D cell culture matrices. However, a heterogeneous cell distribution ranging over a scaffold is still a challenge. We present a new compact 3D submerged perfusion bioreactor. It has a central chamber and eight outlet channels radiating from the central chamber to peripheral cutouts with scaffold cassettes. A magnetic stirrer bar in the central chamber is set to rotate thereby creating a vortex with a pressure minimum aligned with the central inlet hole. The media flow can be regulated via the RPM of the magnetic stirrer. The new design was initially tested with human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) derived from bone marrow. After static seeding for two days cells was either grown in a standard static culture or in the perfusion reactor. DNA and alkaline phosphatase (ALP)/DNA analysis was performed both of the whole scaffold and partitioned scaffolds. It is concluded that i) dynamic culture speeds up osteogenic differentiation and ii) dynamic culture promotes a more disperse cell distribution.