Pneumatic unidirectional cell stretching device for mechanobiological studies of cardiomyocytes

Joose Kreutzer*, Marlitt Viehrig, Risto Pekka Pölönen, Feihu Zhao, Marisa Ojala, Katriina Aalto-Setälä, Pasi Kallio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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In this paper, we present a transparent mechanical stimulation device capable of uniaxial stimulation, which is compatible with standard bioanalytical methods used in cellular mechanobiology. We validate the functionality of the uniaxial stimulation system using human-induced pluripotent stem cells-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs). The pneumatically controlled device is fabricated from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and provides uniaxial strain and superior optical performance compatible with standard inverted microscopy techniques used for bioanalytics (e.g., fluorescence microscopy and calcium imaging). Therefore, it allows for a continuous investigation of the cell state during stretching experiments. The paper introduces design and fabrication of the device, characterizes the mechanical performance of the device and demonstrates the compatibility with standard bioanalytical analysis tools. Imaging modalities, such as high-resolution live cell phase contrast imaging and video recordings, fluorescent imaging and calcium imaging are possible to perform in the device. Utilizing the different imaging modalities and proposed stretching device, we demonstrate the capability of the device for extensive further studies of hiPSC-CMs. We also demonstrate that sarcomere structures of hiPSC-CMs organize and orient perpendicular to uniaxial strain axis and thus express more maturated nature of cardiomyocytes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Pages (from-to)291–303
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Mechanical stimulation
  • Cardiomyocytes
  • hiPSC
  • PDMS

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