A parameterised mathematical model to elucidate osteoblast cell growth in a phosphate-glass microcarrier culture

Iva Burova, Carlotta Peticone, David De Silva Thompson, Jonathan C Knowles, Ivan Wall, Rebecca J Shipley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tissue engineering has the potential to augment bone grafting. Employing microcarriers as cell-expansion vehicles is a promising bottom-up bone tissue engineering strategy. Here we propose a collaborative approach between experimental work and mathematical modelling to develop protocols for growing microcarrier-based engineered constructs of clinically relevant size. Experiments in 96-well plates characterise cell growth with the model human cell line MG-63 using four phosphate glass microcarrier materials. Three of the materials are doped with 5 mol% TiO2 and contain 0%, 2% or 5% CoO, and the fourth material is doped only with 7% TiO2 (0% CoO). A mathematical model of cell growth is parameterised by finding material-specific growth coefficients through data-fitting against these experiments. The parameterised mathematical model offers more insight into the material performance by comparing culture outcome against clinically relevant criteria: maximising final cell number starting with the lowest cell number in the shortest time frame. Based on this analysis, material 7% TiO2 is identified as the most promising.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

Funding: This project has received funding from the Rosetrees Trust (grant
number A696), the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and
innovation programme (grant agreement number 739572) and
the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
(EPSRC) (grant award number EP/G034656/1).


  • Tissue engineering
  • biomaterials
  • bioprocessing
  • cell culture
  • cobalt
  • mathematical modelling
  • microcarriers
  • phosphate glass
  • titanium


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