Orthopedic implants are known to be devices helping physicians in replacing or fixing a bone. Investigators from the Stevens Institute of Technology have put forth a new method that may develop three-dimensional (3D) tissue models for analyzing bacterial infection of orthopedic implants. The research apparently provides a physiologically relevant approach to examine infection prevention strategies and imitating antibiotic delivery by 3D bone tissues cultured in microfluidic devices.
Currently available implant design is probably unable to understand bacterial infection, a major cause of failure in orthopedic implants. Apparently developing infection-fighting drugs or biomaterials is a task because of insufficient laboratory equipment. During the research, scientists seeded 0.02 mL microfluidic channels with osteoblasts and immunized the channels with Staphylococcus epidermis bacteria. This bacterium is known as a common pathogen in orthopedic infections. Experts pumped nutrient solutions by means of channels at a concentration and flow rate mimicking conditions within the human body.
Then with the help of a microscope, bone tissue cells and bacteria within the channels were imaged. These images were inspected for bacteria count. Dr. Joung-Hyun Lee of Stevens, of the New Jersey Dental School and colleagues observed that microfluidic devices and finely-tuned dynamic flow settings show realistic bone tissue models in clinical scenarios. In this system microfluidic channels seemingly demonstrate a realistic environment for cells to grow and stick to three dimensions. In addition, dynamic fluid motion through the channels apparently imitates real-world conditions, which were previously unattainable in a lab setting. This fluid was probably equipped with solutions potentially carrying antibiotics or other unique drugs.
The research is published in the journal Tissue Engineering.