Hofemeier AD, Limón T, Muenker TM, Wallmeyer B, Jurado A, Afshar ME, Ebrahimi M, Tsukanov R, Oleksiievets N, Enderlein J, Gilbert PM, Betz T
Elife. 2021 Jan 18;10:e60145.
Tension and mechanical properties of muscle tissue are tightly related to proper skeletal muscle function, which makes experimental access to the biomechanics of muscle tissue formation a key requirement to advance our understanding of muscle function and development. Recently developed elastic in vitro culture chambers allow for raising 3D muscle tissue under controlled conditions and to measure global tissue force generation. However, these chambers are inherently incompatible with high resolution microscopy limiting their usability to global force measurements, and preventing the exploitation of modern fluorescence based investigation methods for live and dynamic measurements. Here we present a new chamber design pairing global force measurements, quantified from post deflection, with local tension measurements obtained from elastic hydrogel beads embedded in muscle tissue. High resolution 3D video microscopy of engineered muscle formation, enabled by the new chamber, shows an early mechanical tissue homeostasis that remains stable in spite of continued myotube maturation.