A novel platform for in situ investigation of cells and tissues under mechanical strain

W. W. Ahmed, M. H. Kural, M Taher A Saif

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

The mechanical micro-environment influences cellular responses such as migration, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Cells are subjected to mechanical stretching in vivo, e.g., epithelial cells during embryogenesis. Current methodologies do not allow high-resolution in situ observation of cells and tissues under applied strain, which may reveal intracellular dynamics and the origin of cell mechanosensitivity. A novel polydimethylsiloxane substrate was developed, capable of applying tensile and compressive strain (up to 45%) to cells and tissues while allowing in situ observation with high-resolution optics. The strain field of the substrate was characterized experimentally using digital image correlation, and the deformation was modeled by the finite element method, using a Mooney-Rivlin hyperelastic constitutive relation. The substrate strain was found to be uniform for >95% of the substrate area. As a demonstration of the system, mechanical strain was applied to single fibroblasts transfected with GFP-actin and whole transgenic Drosophila embryos expressing GFP in all neurons during live imaging. Three observations of biological responses due to applied strain are reported: (1) dynamic rotation of intact actin stress fibers in fibroblasts; (2) lamellipodia activity and actin polymerization in fibroblasts; (3) active axonal contraction in Drosophila embryo motor neurons. The novel platform may serve as an important tool in studying the mechanoresponse of cells and tissues, including whole embryos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2979-2990
Number of pages12
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Volume6
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Fingerprint

Tissue
Fibroblasts
Actins
Embryonic Structures
Drosophila
Substrates
Neurons
Observation
Stress Fibers
Pseudopodia
Motor Neurons
Polymerization
Optical resolving power
Embryonic Development
Cell death
Polydimethylsiloxane
Stretching
Epithelial Cells
Optics
Apoptosis

Keywords

  • Cell mechanics
  • Drosophila embryos
  • Fibroblasts
  • Mechanical strain
  • Polydimethylsiloxane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

A novel platform for in situ investigation of cells and tissues under mechanical strain. / Ahmed, W. W.; Kural, M. H.; Saif, M Taher A.

In: Acta Biomaterialia, Vol. 6, No. 8, 08.2010, p. 2979-2990.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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