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Bioengineering Seminar Series: Weiyong Gu
Friday, October 10, 2008
11:00 a.m.
Room 2108, Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Bldg.
For More Information:
Professor Adam Hsieh
(301) 405-7397

Transport of Nutrients in the Intervertebral Disc

Presented by Weiyong Gu
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Director, Tissue Biomechanics Lab
University of Miami

The intervertebral disc (IVD) of the spine is the largest avascular structure in the human body. Its primary function is load support. The degeneration of IVDs is associated with lower-back pain, the most frequent cause of activity limitation in people under the age of 45. Poor nutritional supply to disc cells is believed to be a primary etiology of disc degeneration.During the past decade, increasing attention has been focused on the biological responses of IVD tissue to mechanical forces, in order to understand cellular mechano-transduction mechanisms.

Transport of fluid and solutes through the extracellular matrix plays a key role in cell nutrition of avascular tissues such as IVD. For example, in the process of tissue engineering, the transport properties of the cell-matrix construct vary with tissue growth, resulting in changes in nutrition level around the cells within the tissue. The quantitative determination of physicochemical signals and nutrition levels within a tissue is important for designing a strategy for promoting tissue regeneration or retarding tissue degeneration.

Recent advances in theoretical modeling and experimental techniques for investigating transport phenomena in soft tissues will be discussed. Results on cell metabolism and transport of fluid and solutes (ions, oxygen, glucose, and other molecules) in the IVD will be presented. These studies provide a new insight into mechano-biology of the IVD.

This Event is For: Graduate • Faculty • Post-Docs

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