Simulated Cardiac Cell Trauma using Gentle Ultrasonic Streaming

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment


Ischaemic heart disease is a major healthcare issue, resulting globally in 12.2% of all deaths, but rising to a massive 16.3% amongst the wealthiest countries. This makes it the leading cause of death and with an aging population this is expected to remain a major issue. Bio-medical research is at the forefront of the movement to understand the onset of heart conditions, trauma and their treatment, and includes detailed studies at the cellular level. Pivotal in these studies is the ability to simulate these conditions and examine the membrane integrity and viability of the cardiac myocyte, the contractile cell from the heart. This project will develop a tool to facilitate these studies using acoustically induced fluid flows which produce sub-millimeter sized vortex flows, termed ultrasonic micro-streaming , to generate shear forces within the cell membrane; by introducing and manipulating micro-streaming sources such as micro-bubbles, it will be shown how ultrasonic streaming can be targeted at isolated cardiac myocyte cells to either test their integrity or induce a controlled level of trauma to test subsequent cardioprotective treatments and restoration of cell function.
Description A technique has been developed that allows the use of polymer encapsulated microbubbles on a substrate for the purpose of generating microstreaming. A fixed separation distance between microbubbles and cells was used for inducing mechanical stress in cells by cavitation microstreaming . ? The repeatability of microstreaming speed with respect to time around a single microbubble has been measured over a range of voltages. Stable cavitation microstreaming has been shown to possess sufficient power to significantly affect cell viability at small separation distances (approximately 150 µm).
Exploitation Route Mechanotransduction in cells is a topic of interest in a wide variety of situations. This provides an alternative and controllable approach to generating local shear stresses.
Sectors Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description University of Southampton
Amount £18,312 (GBP)
Funding ID KTSQ/11/10/014 
Organisation University of Southampton 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom