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J Biomech. 2010 Jan 5;43(1):93-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2009.09.014. Epub 2009 Oct 12.

Mechanobiology of cardiomyocyte development.

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Rice University, Department of Bioengineering, 6100 Main St. MS-142, Houston, TX 77005, USA.


Cardiac cells are under constant, self-generated mechanical stress which can affect the differentiation of stem cells into cardiac myocytes, the development of differentiated cells and the maturation of cells in neonatal mammals. In this article, the effects of direct stretch, electrically induced beating and substrate elasticity on the behavior and development of cardiomyocytes are reviewed, with particular emphasis on the effects of substrate stiffness on cardiomyocyte maturation. In order to relate these observations to in vivo mechanical conditions, we isolated the left ventricle of Black Swiss mice from embryonic day 13.5 through post-natal day 14 and measured the elastic modulus of the epicardium using atomic force microscope indentation. We found that the elastic modulus of the epicardium significantly changes at birth, from an embryonic value of 12+/-4kPa to a neonatal value of 39+/-7kPa. This change is in the range shown to significantly affect the development of neonatal cardiomyocytes.

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