Avinash Kondiboyina

Project description

My project is on analyzing the effect of Reynolds number of fluid flow on osteocytes, which are bone-forming cells embedded in the bone matrix. Osteocytes have cytoplasmic projections that extend into microscopic channels of the bone called canaliculi, which are filled with periosteocytic fluid. When the bone is mechanically loaded, this fluid oscillates, which is detected by the projections of the osteocytes. Osteocytes then recruit osteoblasts and osteoclasts to begin the bone remodeling process. In this project, osteocytes are seeded into microscopic channels having comparable dimensions to the canaliculi. They are then subjected to fluid flow and analyzed for any changes. Previous studies have taken a similar approach to studying osteocytes. They have tried using different shear stress values of fluid flow to find a trend but they have been unsuccessful. We hypothesize that because the Reynolds number is a more complete description of flow than merely shear stress, the cells might actually be sensitive to Reynolds number. Thus, this study subjects osteocytes in microfluidic channels to varying Reynolds number but shear stress is kept constant between experiments to enable comparability of results. Cells are being analyzed for changes in apoptosis levels, morphology, calcium levels and F-actin density with varying Reynolds number of flow. Initial results are promising and show that apoptosis levels increase with increasing Reynolds number.