Cellular and matrix mechanics of bioartificial tissues during continuous cyclic stretch

Jeremiah J. Wille, Elliot L. Elson, Ruth J. Okamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Bioartificial tissues are useful model systems for studying cell and extra-cellular matrix mechanics. These tissues provide a 3D environment for cells and allow tissue components to be easily modified and quantified. In this study, we fabricated bioartificial tissue rings from a 1 ml solution containing one million cardiac fibroblasts and 1 mg collagen. After 8 days, rings compacted to <1% of original volume and cell number increased 2.4 fold. We initiated continuous cyclic stretching of the rings after 2, 4, or 8 days of incubation, while monitoring the tissue forces. Peak tissue force during each cycle decreased rapidly after initiating stretch, followed by further slow decline. We added 2 μM Cytochalasin-D to some rings prior to initiation of stretch to determine the force contributed by the matrix. Cell force was estimated by subtracting matrix force from tissue force. After 12 h, matrix force-strain curves were highly nonlinear. Cell force-strain curves were linear during loading and showed hysteresis indicating viscoelastic behavior. Cell stiffness increased with stretching frequency from 0.001-0.25 Hz. Cell stiffness decreased with stretch amplitude (5-25%) at 0.1 Hz. The trends in cell stiffness do not fit simple viscoelastic models previously proposed, and suggest possible strain-amplitude related changes during cyclic stretch.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1678-1690
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of biomedical engineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Cardiac fibroblasts
  • Cell mechanics
  • Collagen
  • Tissue engineering


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