In vitro study of the effect of cyclic strains on the dermal fibroblast (GM3384) morphology—Mapping of cell responses to strain field Academic Article uri icon


  • Cells can respond to mechanical forces and actively interact with mechanical stimulations in vitro. Understanding the effect of mechanical loading on cell morphology signifies a critical biomechanics issue in tissue engineering. In this study, human dermal fibroblasts (GM3384) underwent cyclic strain. This was done by culturing a monolayer of the cells onto a transparent membrane and applying a cyclic stress using a computer controlled bioreactor. The cells were mechanically stimulated at around 7% strain with 1 cycle per minute for 2 days. Finite element analysis (FEA) was then employed to characterize the strain field across the substrate membrane in the bioreactor. The results showed that strain distribution were non-uniform in the substrate membrane. The mapping of cell morphology with the strain field revealed that the cells exposed to the equibiaxial strain exhibited the classical spindle morphology while the cells subjected to uniaxial strain changed to a polygonal morphology. It is concluded that the nature of the strain has significant impact on the final cell morphology.

author list (cited authors)

  • Xie, K. Y., Yang, L., Chen, K., & Li, Q.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • October 2011