Introduction: Cyclic stretch stimulations known to affect blood flow to the wound bed and to enhance cell migration and proliferation, which contributes to tissue repair. Our aim is to evaluate the influence of dynamic substrate radial strains on proliferation and migration of cells en-mass, in culture models of a wound-bed, towards improvement of negative pressure therapy technologies and protocols.
Methods: In order to evaluate the influence of dynamic cell stretching as above, we developed an apparatus for applying controlled dynamic tensile strains to cell culture substrata. To maintain a controlled environment during experiments we further developed an incubator that is mountable on our microscope and dynamic cell stretching system (DCSS). To demonstrate the function of DCSS and custom-made incubator, we conduct two types of experiments. In the first, we calculate cell confluency of a specific area in a culture over 5 days to determine effects of the strain regime on proliferation, using digital image processing of the micrographs (using Matlab codes). In the second experiments set, we quantitatively characterize cell migration by creating a circular “wound” in a fully confluent culture and monitor the en-mass migration until closure. In both experiment types we compare dynamic strain stimuli regimes to static and to non-stretch controls.
Results & conclusions: The DCSS, custom-made incubator and coupled digital image processing codes make a powerful experimental system for determining the effects of deformation regimes on cell proliferation and migration. The acquired experimental data will inform development and improvement of negative pressure therapy systems.