Pulsating fluid flow affects pre-osteoblast behavior and osteogenic differentiation through production of soluble factors

Jianfeng Jin, Hadi Seddiqi, Astrid D. Bakker, Gang Wu, Johanna F. M. Verstappen, Mohammad Haroon, Joannes A. M. Korfage, Behrouz Zandieh-Doulabi, Arie Werner, Jenneke Klein-Nulend, Richard T. Jaspers

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Bone mass increases after error-loading, even in the absence of osteocytes. Loaded osteoblasts may produce a combination of growth factors affecting adjacent osteoblast differentiation. We hypothesized that osteoblasts respond to a single load in the short-term (minutes) by changing F-actin stress fiber distribution, in the intermediate-term (hours) by signaling molecule production, and in the long-term (days) by differentiation. Furthermore, growth factors produced during and after mechanical loading by pulsating fluid flow (PFF) will affect osteogenic differentiation. MC3T3-E1 pre-osteoblasts were either/not stimulated by 60 min PFF (amplitude, 1.0 Pa; frequency, 1 Hz; peak shear stress rate, 6.5 Pa/s) followed by 0-6 h, or 21/28 days of post-incubation without PFF. Computational analysis revealed that PFF immediately changed distribution and magnitude of fluid dynamics over an adherent pre-osteoblast inside a parallel-plate flow chamber (immediate impact). Within 60 min, PFF increased nitric oxide production (5.3-fold), altered actin distribution, but did not affect cell pseudopodia length and cell orientation (initial downstream impact). PFF transiently stimulated Fgf2, Runx2, Ocn, Dmp1, and Col1⍺1 gene expression between 0 and 6 h after PFF cessation. PFF did not affect alkaline phosphatase nor collagen production after 21 days, but altered mineralization after 28 days. In conclusion, a single bout of PFF with indirect associated release of biochemical factors, stimulates osteoblast differentiation in the long-term, which may explain enhanced bone formation resulting from mechanical stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14917
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number12
Early online date26 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • F-actin stress fiber
  • finite element modeling
  • fluid dynamics
  • osteogenic differentiation
  • pre-osteoblast


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