Background A modification of the Flexcell system that allows imposition of homogenous, controlled non-equibiaxial strains to cell cultures is developed and experimentally validated. The Flexcell system by default applies equibiaxial strain to cell cultures, meaning no shear strain, while soft tissue cells in vivo are subjected to a range of mechanical deformations including shear strain caused by activities of daily living. Shear strains are suspected to play an important role in tissue necrosis. Method The Flexcell system was redesigned using a finite element model in order to obtain large areas of the membrane in a controlled, uniform non-equibiaxial strain state. Results The redesign was manufactured and the resulting strains were experimentally validated by means of image analysis methods. The results showed that the system could be used for experiments varying the shear strain. Conclusion The result allows scientists and experimentalists to apply detailed control of the strain tensor applied to tissue samples in two dimensions.
Journal of Tissue Viability, 2013, Vol 22, Issue 2, p. 52-56