The Effect of Shear Stress and Stretch on Lymphatic Endothelial Cell Calcium Dynamics using a Microfluidic platform
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The lymphatic system serves several purposes in the body: transports back the excess nutrients in the tissue space outside the blood vessel, helps the immune system against various infection and diseases, and fat adsorption. In patients with lymphedema, the lymphatic vessel experience an increased shear stress and strain due to the increased lymph volume. A microfluidic device made out of Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is assembled as a platform to investigate the effect of shear stress and strain on the Lymphatic Endothelial Cells (LECs) calcium dynamics. The device has three channels, two of them are used to apply low pressure to the main channel in the middle. The flow channel in the middle of the device is separated into an upper and lower channel by a PDMS membrane, on top of which the cells are cultured. This research contains some preliminary finding about the calcium dynamics of LECs in response to shear stress and strain. Further studies of LECs adaptation mechanism to the higher strain and shear load during lymphedema progression will enable the development of more advanced therapeutic and diagnostic strategies for patients with lymphedema.