During bone regeneration, intermediate tissues - such as fibrous connective tissue, cartilage and woven bone - precede final bone formation, providing initial mechanical stability and a scaffold for tissue differentiation. The mechanical loading affects the regeneration process, with different stress distribution favouring, or inhibiting, differentiation of specific tissue phenotypes. High shear strain and fluid flow are thought to stimulate formation of fibrous connective tissue, whereas lower levels stimulate formation of cartilage, and even lower levels favor ossification.
Through the use of an actuator (bioreactor) is possible to recreate the appropriate mechanical loadings required for a specific tissue differentiation. The understanding of stress/strain distribution at the scaffold level is quite complicate or in certain case is almost impossible (due to scaffolds dimensions and materials). Using computational the stimuli applied onto the scaffolds can be quantified.
J. Lovecchio et al. Bone tissue engineering and bioreactors. 2016. Biomedical Engineering: Introduction to current approaches.