I-Wire: A Biotension Measurement Device for Tissue Engineering and Pharmacology


Vanderbilt researchers have developed an integrated system (“I-Wire”) for the growth of miniature, engineered 3D cardiac or other muscle or connective tissues and their active and passive mechanical characterization. The system utilizes an inverted microscope to measure the strain when the tissue constructs are laterally displaced using a calibrated flexible cantilevered probe.

Addressed Need

Current tissue biotension devices do not permit control over the applied force.

Technology Description

The figures shown on the right provide a pictorial description of the I-Wire system. A flexible, calibrated probe exerts a lateral force onto the tissue to be interrogated.  A microscope is used to detect the relative deflection of both the probe and the specimen. A simple calculation yields the mechanical properties of the construct.

Collagen-fibroblast construct

Neonatal rat cardiac construct

Force application/measurement

Force measurement at different tensions and with isoproterenol

Frank-Starling force-tension curve with and without isoproterenol