Journal article

Mechanical Characterization and Shape Optimization of Fascicle-Like 3D Skeletal Muscle Tissues Contracted with Electrical and Optical Stimuli

In this study, we present a quantitative approach to construct effective 3D muscle tissues through shape optimization and load impedance matching with electrical and optical stimulation. We have constructed long, thin, fascicle-like skeletal muscle tissue and optimized its form factor through mechanical characterization. A new apparatus was designed and built, which allowed us to measure force–displacement characteristics with diverse load stiffnesses. We have found that (1) there is an optimal form factor that maximizes the muscle stress, (2) the energy transmitted to the load can be maximized with matched load stiffness, and (3) optical stimulation using channelrhodopsin2 in the muscle tissue can generate a twitch force as large as its electrical counterpart for well-developed muscle tissue. Using our tissue construct method, we found that an optimal initial diameter of 500 μm outperformed tissues using 250 μm by more than 60% and tissues using 760 μm by 105%. Using optimal load stiffness, our tissues have generated 12 pJ of energy per twitch at a peak generated stress of 1.28 kPa. Additionally, the difference in optically stimulated twitch performance versus electrically stimulated is a function of how well the overall tissue performs, with average or better performing strips having less than 10% difference. The unique mechanical characterization method used is generalizable to diverse load conditions and will be used to match load impedance to muscle tissue impedance for a wide variety of applications.


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