The conversion of mechanical stimuli into chemical signals is of the utmost importance for developmental and normal physiology. Mechanotransduction plays a pivotal role in regulating cellular function and, subsequent tissue maintenance and repair, apoptosis, and many other physiological functions, coupled with a broad array of soluble factors. The successful examination of how mechanotransduction effects cells' function, in vitro, requires the ability to develop cell culture platforms that recapitulate extracellular environments in which the cells reside. Recently, significant progress in biomaterial design has allowed the examination of the effects mechanotransduction plays on a broad array of extracellular microenvironments. This chapter will review a series of biomaterials used for mechanotransduction studies specifically focusing on glass substrates, poly(dimethyl siloxane) (PDMS) and polymeric hydrogels, and also discuss strategies for designing advanced biomaterial systems.
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