Unrivalled performances 

  • Compatible with soft substrates and hydrogels
  • Easily tunable cell’s shape and size
  • Easier traction force microscopy measurements

Compatible with soft substrates and hydrogels

With PRIMO, it is possible to pattern on any substrate’s stiffness, whether it is stiff or soft. It is also easy to combine micropatterning and hydrogel structuration to study cell forces.

In the example below, micropatterning was performed on soft and deformable substrates to study cardiomyocyte contractility.  They observed that non micropatterned cells contract poorly and in an asynchronous manner whereas micropatterned cells show higher and more synchronized contractility.

Traction force measurements with cardiomyocytes on a 3kPa substrate Courtesy of R. Krishnan and N. Schaible, Harvard Med. School.

Easily tunable cell’s shape and size

Our technology provides printing of micropatterns of any shapes on the desired substrate.

In this study, the PRIMO device is used to accurately quantify cell contractile work based on the deformations of micropatterns of cell adhesion proteins of diverse cell shapes

PaCS accurately measures cell contractile work across diverse cell shapes: a, Fluorescent BSA197 fibronectin patterns of various shapes deformed by 3T3 Fibroblast cells on 12 kPa PDMS substrates. b, Total strain 198 energy calculated with PaCS strongly correlates with strain energy calculated with TFM (n=56). c, 3T3 Fibroblast 199 cells fixed and stained with phalloidin (actin) and DAPI (nuclei), imaged on Leica SP8 confocal (63X/1.4NA 200 objective). d, PaCS strain energy for 3T3 Fibroblast cells indicate cells confined in circular shape to apply the least 201 strain energy. A Ghagre et al., ACS Appl. Mater.Interface, 2021

Easier traction force microscopy measurements

With PRIMO, it is possible to simplify measurements of cellular traction forces since it permits optical measurements of cell-mediated displacements to be converted into stresses and forces.

Down below, they performed cell force measurements in airway smooth muscle cells. They studied how extracellular matrix stiffness regulates force transmission pathways in multicellular ensembles of human airway smooth muscle cells.

(A) Healthy ECM, E =300Pa: ASM-cells form stable cell-cell junctions and the boundary is clearly marked by β-catenin stain. (B, C) Remodeled, stiffer ECM (E =13 kPa-40 kPa): As the ECM stiffness increases to 13kPa, one sees the appearance of focal adhesions near the cell-cell boundary (marked by yellow arrows). When ECM stiffness is further increased to 40 kPa, the ASM-ASM boundary (red) gives way to cell ECM focal adhesions (green).
(A) shows a composite image with a phase contrast image of a two-ASM cell ensemble superimposed on fluorescent images (B) shows the displacement field (green arrows) calculated from the movement of 1µm beads spin coated on the gel surface. The displacement field is superimposed on the phase contrast image of the two-SM cell pair.


S. R. Polio et al., Scientific Reports, 2019

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