In Vitro Research
Micro Electrode Array Stretching Stimulating und Recording Equipment
Cells in the body are constantly subject to mechanical forces, with yet poorly understood effects on cellular processes. In a physiological stretch, the cells are stretched within their healthy limits. In a pathological stretch, the cells are stretched beyond the healthy limit, causing a trauma. Examples of pathological stretch are traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and concussions.
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 by incorporating BMSEED’s proprietary elastically stretchable microelectrodes. MEASSuRE reproduces the mechanical and electrical in vivo environment in a controlled environment 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. MEASSuRE therefore combines three distinct tools into one system. It is a cell stretcher, electrophysiolgy tool and imaging system, all-in-one.
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.
radially or uniaxially
once or cyclically
up to 50% strain
at strain rates of up to 80/s
any stretch pattern can be programmed with macros
before, during and after stretching
up to 2,000 frames per second at 2MP resolution
custom, easy-to-use BMSEED software to independently measure the tissue strain
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
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.
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?
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.