The Development of a 3D Piezoelectric Active Microtissue Model for Airway Smooth Muscle
Although asthma is primarily thought to be an inflammatory disease of the airways, it has recently been hypothesized that the altered mechanical environment of an asthmatic airway may contribute to the development of the disease through changes in cellular phenotype. In regards to this hypothesis, the effects of stretch on airway smooth muscle (ASM) have previously been investigated using 2D cell culture. However, over the last few years there has been an increasing appreciation to the importance of the role of the 3D extracellular matrix in the regulation of cellular response. For this reason, the work presented in this thesis covers the development of a device capable of high-throughput investigations into the effects of acute or chronic, uniaxial, oscillatory mechanical strain on an array of miniature, 3D, multi-cell, tissue-engineered constructs.