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A Versatile Cell Contractility Mapping Transducer Utilizing Moiré-Based Technique

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3 Author(s)
Xiaoyu Zheng ; Department of Mechanical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA ; Howard K. Surks ; Xin Zhang

The mapping of contraction forces developed from cells to their extracellular matrix is crucial to understanding how cells regulate their physiological function to adapt to their living environment and cellular processes. This paper reports a novel cell contractility mapping transducer utilizing moiré patterns as a visual and quantitative tool. Coherent light diffracted from two closely placed microfabricated periodic substrates is capable of mapping cell contraction forces via mapping the in-plane displacement on the sample substrate. By integrating cell culture environment and automated Fourier-based fringe analysis, the moiré pattern generated through microfabricated periodic substrates enables the mapping of cell contraction force distribution through phase changes encoded in carrier moiré fringe patterns. We demonstrated utilizing the transducer to map cardiac myocyte contraction under electric stimulation and vascular smooth muscle cell contractility evolutions triggered by agonist. Given the unique properties of optical moiré techniques (i.e., their automatic displacement and strain contouring and their magnification effect for small displacements), this new approach would be an improvement over existing techniques since it can be integrated with the existing engineered substrates and provide a direct contour of cell forces and fast detection of abnormal cell contractions.

Published in:

Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 4 )