In Vitro Research

MicroElectrode Array Stretching Stimulating und Recording Equipment


Cells in the body are constantly subject to mechanical forces, with yet poorly understood effects on cell division, gene expression, cell migration, morpho-genesis, ion channel gating, and others. In a physiological stretch, the cells are stretched within their healthy limits. In a pathological stretch, the cells are stretched beyond the healthy limits and normal cell function is disrupted, causing a trauma.

It is currently difficult to investigate reproducibly and reliably the effects of physiological and pathological mechanical stretch on the electrophysiology of biological tissue, both in vitro and in vivo, because current electrodes are hard and stiff, thus break or damage the tissue upon stretching. Moreover, existing commercial technologies only allow to either stretch cells mechanically or to stimulate them electrically, but not both. MEASSuRE solves this problem.

MEASSuRE reproduces the mechanical and electrical in vivo environment in a controlled invironment in vitro by allowing the application of a controlled stretch (strain, strain rate) to a cell or tissue culture while simultaneously stimulating electrophysiolgical activity to assess the health of the cells. This capability is enabled by incorporating BMSEED’s proprietary elastically stretchable microelectrodes.

Product Configurations

MEASSuRE addresses the in vitromarkets for mechanical stimulation, electrical stimulation/  recording, and optical imaging. BMSEED will also offer entry-level systems for those customerswho only require mechanical stimulation or electrical stimulation/ recording. The entry-level configurations can be upgraded to the complete MEASSuRE configuration. 

Stretcher Configuration 

Entry-level model for solely stretching cells or tissue. Customers who choose this configuration will get access to a high end cell stretching system at low cost. Due to the modular design ofMEASSuRE, they can upgrade to add the recording/stimulating capability at any time, only having to purchase the additional components. In addition, the wells that contain the cells to be stretched (stretchwells) have the same form factor and silicone membrane as sMEAs, but nomicroelectrodes. Cell seeding protocols will be the same. Imaging capability is optional.

Data Acquisition Configuration 

Entry-level model solely for electrophysiological measurements on the cells or tissue. Customers who choose this configuration will get access to a high end data acquisition system at low cost.  Due to the modular design, they can upgrade to the MEASSuRE configuration by purchasing the additional components. The interface with the cells/tissue are standard rigid MEAs made onglass. Soft MEAs could be beneficial if the substrate stiffness is an factor in cell growth or differentiation. Standard MEAs and soft MEAs can be procured through BMSEED. 


Complete solution for mechanically stretching, optical imaging, and electrical recording and stimulation. Customers who already have access to a data acquisition system or who prefer to use a different one, e.g., from Plexon or Multi Channel Systems, can upgrade to the MEASSuRE configuration by purchasing the additional components. 




  • Mechanical stretching
  • Radial and uniaxial
  • Optical imaging
  • Fluorescence
  • Electrical recording
  • Electrical stimulation



Stretchable MEA

Stretchable MEA (sMEA)




  • Mechanical stretching
  • Radial and uniaxial
  • Optical imaging
  • Fluorescence






Data Acquisition System


  •  Electrical recording
  •  Electrical stimulation





Rigid MEA

Soft MEA

Capabilities of MEASSuRE

MEASSuRE is a complete solution for researchers to stretch cells/tissue mechanically, image them optically, and record/stimulate electrophysiological activity, separately or concurrently. 

Mechanical stretching 

  • radially or uniaxially
  • once or cyclically
  • up to 50% strain
  • at strain rates of up to 50s-1
  • virtually any stretch pattern can be programmed with macros
  • high reproducibility

Optical imaging

  • before, during and after stretching
  • up to 1700 frames per second
  • custom, easy-to-use BMSEED software to independently verify the tissue strain

Electrical recording and stimulation

  • electrodes stretch with the cells/tissue
  • recording/stimulation before, during, and after stretching
  • comparison of pre and post stretch electrophysiological activity (normalization)
  • soft MEAs on elastomeric silicone substrates
  • standard MEAs on rigid substrates available

Applications for MEASSuRE

Potential applications for MEASSuRE can be grouped in the following segments: 

Physiological Stretching of Cells

Tissue Engineering
Stem cells that differentiate into a specific tissue have properties that resemble adult tissue more closely when the cells are under mechanical and electrical stimulation during the differentiation process. MEASSuRE has the capability to provide both, electrical and mechanical stimulation. 

Drug Toxicity Testing
Tissues grown from stem cells differentiated under mechanical and electrical stimulation are more representative of their respective organ in an adult human. Thus, the validity of drug toxicity testing by pharmaceutical company increases. MEASSuRE has the capability to provide both, electrical and mechanical stimulation.

There are a variety of mechanisms for transducing and sensing mechanical forces in neurons and other cell types. MEASSuRE provides capabilities to fundamentally understand the effect of mechanical forces.

Pathological Stretching of Cells

Neurotrauma Research and Treatments
MEASSuRE allows to reproduce reliably and repeatedly the biomechanics of traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury in a controlled environment.  Changes in the electrophysiology of the injured neurons can be assessed in a straightforward manner with the embedded microelectrodes by comparing the post-injury electrophysiology to pre-injury level. The effectiveness of drugs or other treatment strategies to minimize the damage after injury cantherefore be readily assessed.

Concussion research
MEASSuRE will allow researchers and physicians to develop improved concussion protocols that are based on the electrophysiology of the underlying injury rather than cognitive tests. 

Muscle Injury Research and Treatments
MEASSuRE will allow the investigation of the mechanism of those muscle injuries that are caused by excessive tension or compression, and the evaluation of drugs to speed up recovery. 

Mechanisms on Stem Cell Repair Research
Stem cells are involved in repair processes after injury in different parts of the body, e.g., in the brain after a traumatic brain injury. The mechanism of the activation of the mechanoreceptors is not understood. MEASSuRE will be a useful tool to elucidate and study this mechanism.

Other – Research on Neurodegenerative Diseases
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease have common pathological pathways with traumatic brain injury, e.g., the build-up of amyloid-plaques. Therefore, MEASSuRE might be a valuable tool for the early evaluation of the efficacy of drug candidates against Alzheimer’s disease.


How is the mechanical stretch applied to the cells?

Morrison et al., J Neurosience Methods, 150:192, 2006

Schematic drawing of the stretching mechanism:
The tissue is stretched by pulling the sMEA over a cylindrical indenter.


One cycle of stretching followed by relaxation

Before Stretching: The microelectrodes record signals from the tissue.

During Stretching: The tissue, the microelectrodes, and the silicone membrane are stretched. The microelectrodes record  signals from the same location on the  tissue as before stretching. 

After Relaxation: The tissue, the microelectrodes, and the silicone membrane are relaxed. The microelectrodes record/stimulate signals at the same tissue/cell location before and during stretching. 

Can be repeated over many cycles