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Title: Rheological characterization of poly-dimethyl siloxane formulations with tunable viscoelastic properties
Studies from the past two decades have demonstrated convincingly that cells are able to sense the mechanical properties of their surroundings. Cells make major decisions in response to this mechanosensation, including decisions regarding cell migration, proliferation, survival, and differentiation. The vast majority of these studies have focused on the cellular mechanoresponse to changing substrate stiffness (or elastic modulus) and have been conducted on purely elastic substrates. In contrast, most soft tissues in the human body exhibit viscoelastic behavior; that is, they generate responsive force proportional to both the magnitude and rate of strain. While several recent studies have demonstrated that viscous effects of an underlying substrate affect cellular mechanoresponse, there is not a straightforward experimental method to probe this, particularly for investigators with little background in biomaterial fabrication. In the current work, we demonstrate that polymers comprised of differing polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) formulations can be generated that allow for control over both the strain-dependent storage modulus and the strain rate-dependent loss modulus. These substrates requires no background in biomaterial fabrication to fabricate, are shelf-stable, and exhibit repeatable mechanical properties. Here we demonstrate that these substrates are biocompatible and exhibit similar protein adsorption characteristics regardless of mechanical properties. Finally, we develop a more » set of empirical equations that predicts the storage and loss modulus for a given blend of PDMS formulations, allowing users to tailor substrate mechanical properties to their specific needs. « less
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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
RSC Advances
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
35910 to 35917
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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