The mechanical behavior of soft tissue extracellular matrix is time dependent. Moreover, it evolves over time due to physiological processes as well as aging and disease. Measuring and quantifying the time-dependent mechanical behavior of soft tissues and materials pose a challenge, not only because of their labile and hydrated nature but also because of the lack of a common definition of terms and understanding of models for characterizing viscoelasticity. Here, we review the most important measurement techniques and models used to determine the viscoelastic properties of soft hydrated materials-or hydrogels-underlining the difference between viscoelastic behavior and the properties and descriptors used to quantify viscoelasticity. We then discuss the principal factors, which determine tissue viscoelasticity in vivo and summarize what we currently know about cell response to time-dependent materials, outlining fundamental factors that have to be considered when interpreting results. Particular attention is given to the relationship between the different time scales involved (mechanical, cellular and observation time scales), as well as scaling principles, all of which must be considered when designing viscoelastic materials and performing experiments for biomechanics or mechanobiology applications. From this overview, key considerations and directions for furthering insights and applications in the emergent field of cell viscoelastic mechanotransduction are provided. Impact statementOur tissues are viscoelastic: they respond to mechanical stresses and strains in a time-dependent manner. Their mechanical behavior also evolves over time due to growth, aging, remodeling and disease. Understanding cell response to time-dependent and time-evolving mechanical cues is important for a better comprehension of a wide number of pathophysiological processes and for the design of biomimetic substrates, which can be used as physiologically relevant in vitro models and in regenerative medicine applications. This review highlights the importance of a more rigorous approach toward viscoelastic material design and testing for cell mechanobiology studies, which embrace the entire spectrum of elasto- and viscotransduction.

Characterizing and Engineering Biomimetic Materials for Viscoelastic Mechanotransduction Studies

Cacopardo, Ludovica
;
Guazzelli, Nicole;Ahluwalia, Arti
2021-01-01

Abstract

The mechanical behavior of soft tissue extracellular matrix is time dependent. Moreover, it evolves over time due to physiological processes as well as aging and disease. Measuring and quantifying the time-dependent mechanical behavior of soft tissues and materials pose a challenge, not only because of their labile and hydrated nature but also because of the lack of a common definition of terms and understanding of models for characterizing viscoelasticity. Here, we review the most important measurement techniques and models used to determine the viscoelastic properties of soft hydrated materials-or hydrogels-underlining the difference between viscoelastic behavior and the properties and descriptors used to quantify viscoelasticity. We then discuss the principal factors, which determine tissue viscoelasticity in vivo and summarize what we currently know about cell response to time-dependent materials, outlining fundamental factors that have to be considered when interpreting results. Particular attention is given to the relationship between the different time scales involved (mechanical, cellular and observation time scales), as well as scaling principles, all of which must be considered when designing viscoelastic materials and performing experiments for biomechanics or mechanobiology applications. From this overview, key considerations and directions for furthering insights and applications in the emergent field of cell viscoelastic mechanotransduction are provided. Impact statementOur tissues are viscoelastic: they respond to mechanical stresses and strains in a time-dependent manner. Their mechanical behavior also evolves over time due to growth, aging, remodeling and disease. Understanding cell response to time-dependent and time-evolving mechanical cues is important for a better comprehension of a wide number of pathophysiological processes and for the design of biomimetic substrates, which can be used as physiologically relevant in vitro models and in regenerative medicine applications. This review highlights the importance of a more rigorous approach toward viscoelastic material design and testing for cell mechanobiology studies, which embrace the entire spectrum of elasto- and viscotransduction.
2021
Cacopardo, Ludovica; Guazzelli, Nicole; Ahluwalia, Arti
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1125222
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