Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical Engineering (Engineering)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Chun-Yuh Charles Huang

Second Committee Member

Alicia Jackson

Third Committee Member

Yoh Sawatari


Among the debilitating disorders associated with the musculoskeletal system, osteoarthritis and osteogenesis are the most prevalent disorders. These diseases are commonplace among people throughout the world and related healthcare options do little to improve on the condition. While the causes are yet to be fully understood, novel approaches involving stem cell treatments are currently being evaluated. The understanding of metabolic, formation, and degradation processes is simply a stepping-stone leading to the formulation of an innovative treatment. The goal of this study was to assess the chondrogenic and osteogenic differentiation potential of stem cells derived from two different cell lines in the teeth. While there is a plethora of available stem cell lines found in the human body, cells from the Periodontal Ligament (PDL) and Dental Pulp were utilized to perform these experiments. Due to the many characteristics shared between teeth and bone it was hypothesized that compressive forces, both dynamic and static, on both cell lines would have a positive differentiation impact. Cells were loaded into 2% Agarose hydrogels and tested at a frequency of 1Hz and 0.1Hz for dynamic compression as well as static compression. A custom designed bioreactor was used to provide the sinusoidal dynamic compression in addition to the static compression. All experiments were performed under 15% strain for two hours a day, for three consecutive days. Samples were quantified using RT-PCR in association with ten genes varying for chondrogenesis or osteogenesis. Results from this study suggested that mechanical loading had a positive impact on the differentiation of cells derived from the PDL and Dental Pulp. Dynamic loading conditions resulted in an increase of up regulation for osteogenic and chondrogenic genes, while static loading had displayed no positive effects.


stem cell; periodontal ligament; dental pulp; mechanobiology; mechanotransduction