Contractile forces generated by cells and the stiffness of the surrounding extracellular matrix are two central mechanical factors that regulate cell function. To characterize the dynamic evolution of these two mechanical parameters during tissue morphogenesis, we developed a magnetically actuated micro-mechanical testing system in which fibroblast-populated collagen microtissues formed spontaneously in arrays of microwells that each contains a pair of elastomeric microcantilevers. We characterized the magnetic actuation performance of this system and evaluated its capacity to support long-term cell culture. We showed that cells in the microtissues remained viable during prolonged culture periods of up to 15 days, and that the mechanical properties of the microtissues reached and maintained at a stable state after a fast initial increase stage. Together, these findings demonstrate the utility of this microfabricated bio-magneto-mechanical system in extended mechanobiological studies in a physiologically relevant 3D environment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Physics and Astronomy