Despite its ability to withstand extreme loads, connective collagenous tissue naturally degenerates due to age and pathology. The popularity of advanced modern medical procedures, such as Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery, has caused a decline in usable corneal tissue. By applying a tensile load to artificial tissue while it is saturated in a sterile and organic environment, it is hypothesized that collagenous cells align and fibroblasts remodel the tissue in order to compensate for the stresses it undergoes. It is projected that the viable cells that are remodeled in this process will continue the advancement of tissue engineering and the availability of these tissues for transplants and other medical services. Due to the close specifications needed for such a sensitive application, and the lack of commercial devices that fall within the given specifications, the purpose of this project is to allow for loading of a tissue specimen while simultaneously viewing under high magnification. Objectives of this project are to avoid over-penetration of the chamber, accurately control the applied load, reduce the chamber volume, and to have a reliable way of heating the media and specimen. A number of approaches to this including a magnetic linear actuator, optical encoders, copper plates and thermocouples were researched and assessed in order to find an ideal design. Currently it has been determined that many off-the-shelf components fall within the given specifications, including a linear actuator, load cell, heating system, and components for grips. By incorporating these into a design appropriately sized for the Nikon TE2000E optical microscope, this provides a way to view the matrix remodeling and cell response while closely monitoring tensile loads throughout the process. Once the design is optimized to the point of being ideally operational, this apparatus will be available for many biomedical applications.
corneal tissue, medical procedures
Department of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering
Desjarlais, Aaron P.; Kornfeld, Jessica A.; Lee, Michael R.; McGrath, Matthew; and Perry, Jeffrey T., "Tissue Loading, Flow-Through Micro-Chamber for High Power Microscopic Observation" (2008). Capstone Design Program: Mechanical Engineering. Paper 104. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d10012990
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