Mechanical stimuli are known to modulate biological functions of cells and tissues. Recent studies have suggested that compressive stress alters growth plate cartilage architecture and results in growth modulation of long bones of children. To determine the role of compressive stress in bone growth, we created a microfluidic device actuated by pneumatic pressure, to dynamically (or statically) compress growth plate chondrocytes embedded in alginate hydrogel cylinders. In this article, we describe detailed methods for fabricating and characterizing this device. The advantages of our protocol are: 1) Five different magnitudes of compressive stress can be generated on five technical replicates in a single platform, 2) It is easy to visualize cell morphology via a conventional light microscope, 3) Cells can be rapidly isolated from the device after compression to facilitate downstream assays, and 4) The platform can be applied to study mechanobiology of any cell type that can grow in hydrogels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)