Controlled electromechanical cell stimulation on-a-chip

Sci Rep. 2015 Jul 2:5:11800. doi: 10.1038/srep11800.


Stem cell research has yielded promising advances in regenerative medicine, but standard assays generally lack the ability to combine different cell stimulations with rapid sample processing and precise fluid control. In this work, we describe the design and fabrication of a micro-scale cell stimulator capable of simultaneously providing mechanical, electrical, and biochemical stimulation, and subsequently extracting detailed morphological and gene-expression analysis on the cellular response. This micro-device offers the opportunity to overcome previous limitations and recreate critical elements of the in vivo microenvironment in order to investigate cellular responses to three different stimulations. The platform was validated in experiments using human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells. These experiments demonstrated the ability for inducing changes in cell morphology, cytoskeletal fiber orientation and changes in gene expression under physiological stimuli. This novel bioengineering approach can be readily applied to various studies, especially in the fields of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Regenerative Medicine*
  • Stress, Mechanical