A Novel In Vitro Stretch Device for Simulating In Vivo Conditions
Biological cells are constantly subjected to mechanical forces such as tension, compression and shear. The importance of these forces in mediating cell signals, maintenance of lineages, promoting embryonic cell differentiation and tissue engineering is only now coming into focus. It has been shown that stretch stimulus can influence growth, differentiation, as well as tissue strength and integrity. Most stretch systems built to understand more of these phenomena suffer from shortcomings, as accurately replicating the in vivo environment is quite challenging. Many of the devices currently available are very expensive as well as limited to a single application. The objective of this thesis is to design, manufacture, test, and validate a novel uniaxial cyclic cell stretch device that overcomes most of the major limitations of existing systems, and to experimentally demostrate that uniaxial cyclic stretch causes a shift towards in vivo characteristics of smooth muscle cells. The stretch mechanism is driven by a single servo motor which makes its operation simple and straight forward. Coolworks Lite, a proprietary software of the servo motor supplier, is used to control the motor and LabVIEW is used to obtain feedback from the sensors. Validation for the stretch machine was done by evaluating the performance of the device against engineering requirements. Methods were suggested to improve shortcomings that were encountered. Also, the machine's unique design allows its extension to a biaxial stretch unit while keeping the same driver platform, a concept for which has been discussed and illustrated.
El-Mounayri, Purdue University.
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