A microfluidic platform for stimulating chondrocytes with dynamic compression

Donghee Lee, Alek Erickson, Andrew T. Dudley, Sangjin Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Mechanical stimuli are known to modulate biological functions of cells and tissues. Recent studies have suggested that compressive stress alters growth plate cartilage architecture and results in growth modulation of long bones of children. To determine the role of compressive stress in bone growth, we created a microfluidic device actuated by pneumatic pressure, to dynamically (or statically) compress growth plate chondrocytes embedded in alginate hydrogel cylinders. In this article, we describe detailed methods for fabricating and characterizing this device. The advantages of our protocol are: 1) Five different magnitudes of compressive stress can be generated on five technical replicates in a single platform, 2) It is easy to visualize cell morphology via a conventional light microscope, 3) Cells can be rapidly isolated from the device after compression to facilitate downstream assays, and 4) The platform can be applied to study mechanobiology of any cell type that can grow in hydrogels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere59676
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number151
StatePublished - 2019


  • Alginate hydrogel
  • Bioengineering
  • Cell mechanics
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Growth plate chondrocytes
  • Image analysis
  • Issue 151
  • Mechanobiology
  • Microfluidics
  • Photolithography
  • Soft lithography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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