Cell Signaling (Microscope Measurements)

Introduction
Tension Devices
Compression Devices
Fluid Flow Devices
Equipment, Devices, & Consumables

 

Introduction
Several of the pathways activated in response to mechanical loading (see Figure 1) can be analyzed in real-time. For this reason, Flexcell® developed a line of microscopy devices that can be used to visualize cells in both 2D and 3D culture systems as they are being subjected to mechanical load in real-time.


Pathways
Figure 1. Pathways activated in response to mechanical loading.


 

Tension Devices
The StageFlexer® allows users to visualize real-time cellular responses to tension. It is a single-well embodiment of a BioFlex® well that fits on a standard upright microscope stage. A StageFlexer® Membrane can be deformed 1) freely in the open chamber producing gradient biaxial strain or 2) across a cylindrical loading post producing equibiaxial strain (Figure 2).


StageFlexer Schematic
Figure 2. Equibiaxial strain application to cells plated on a StageFlexer® Membrane and clamped in a StageFlexer® Strain Device.


The StageFlexer® Jr. is designed to allow users to remove a membrane from a BioFlex®, UniFlex®, or Tissue Train® culture plate well and continue observing cellular responses to strain under a microscope in real-time. Strain can be controlled with the FX-6000™ Tension System or the Flex Jr.™ Tension System.
 

Compression Devices
The StagePresser™ is designed to compress a single tissue sample or cells in a gel while viewing the cellular activity under a microscope. The StagePresser™ uses a piston adhered to a rubber membrane to apply force to a sample in culture. The piston is moved upward by positive air pressure applied to the silicone membrane (Figure 3). The FX-5000™ Compression System controls the compression frequency, amplitude, waveform, and cycles (or time period).

StagePresser Schematic
Figure 3. Schematic of how compression is applied to tissue samples or 3D cell cultures in a StagePresser™ microscope device.


 

Fluid Flow Devices
The FlexFlow™ is a parallel plate laminar flow device designed to apply fluid shear stress and/or cyclic strain to cells in culture while providing a means for viewing cell activity under a microscope in real time (Figure 4). Like the StageFlexer®, the FlexFlow™ fits on the stage of a standard upright microscope.

StagePresser Schematic
Figure 4. Schematic of fluid flow in a FlexFlow™ Shear Stress Device.


 

Equipment, Devices, & Consumables

 

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