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PNAS: Compliant 3D frameworks instrumented with strain sensors for characterization of millimeter-scale engineered muscle tissues

Hangbo Zhao's picture

In this work published in PNAS (https://www.pnas.org/content/118/19/e2100077118), we present compliant 3D frameworks that incorporate microscale strain sensors for high-sensitivity measurements of contractile forces of engineered optogenetic muscle tissue rings, supported by quantitative simulations.

Abstract: 

Tissue-on-chip systems represent promising platforms for monitoring and controlling tissue functions in vitro for various purposes in biomedical research. The two-dimensional (2D) layouts of these constructs constrain the types of interactions that can be studied and limit their relevance to three-dimensional (3D) tissues. The development of 3D electronic scaffolds and microphysiological devices with geometries and functions tailored to realistic 3D tissues has the potential to create important possibilities in advanced sensing and control. This study presents classes of compliant 3D frameworks that incorporate microscale strain sensors for high-sensitivity measurements of contractile forces of engineered optogenetic muscle tissue rings, supported by quantitative simulations. Compared with traditional approaches based on optical microscopy, these 3D mechanical frameworks and sensing systems can measure not only motions but also contractile forces with high accuracy and high temporal resolution. Results of active tension force measurements of engineered muscle rings under different stimulation conditions in long-term monitoring settings for over 5 wk and in response to various chemical and drug doses demonstrate the utility of such platforms in sensing and modulation of muscle and other tissues. Possibilities for applications range from drug screening and disease modeling to biohybrid robotic engineering.

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