Chemical and mechanical stimuli are known to cause directed movement in a number of different cell types. Less prominently studied, direct current (DC) electric fields are known to induce a similar response. In this study, we report on DC electric field-induced chondrocyte migration and re-orientation. Galvanotaxis and galvanotropism, migration and shape change in response to applied DC electric fields, respectively, have been demonstrated in many cells. For instance, field strengths of 1–10 V/cm have been reported to induce migration in keratinocytes. corneal epithelial cells, bone cells, fibroblasts and neural cells [1,7,8,11]. Recently, we have demonstrated for the first time that chondrocytes exhibit a galvanotactic response, realigning and migrating in response to applied DC electric fields (6 V/cm) [6]. In cartilage, chondrocytes may see electric fields associated with streaming potentials estimated to be up to 15 V/cm with current densities of up to 0.1A/cm2 [2]. The aim of this study was to explore basic science aspects of directed cell migration under applied DC electric fields and to investigate the potential application of this phenomena for tissue engineering, healing and repair of cartilage. The ability to direct cell growth and function will have significant implications on the bioengineering of replacement tissues.

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