Cell Stretching Systems

Stretch the limits of in vitro possibilities

Configurable stretch paradigms

Stretch your cells conveniently in your incubator or on your microscope stage. Apply uni- or biaxial stretch forces in PDMS chambers that fit a variety of applications, from monolayer and cultured cells to spheroids and tissue.

Effortless stretching patterns

Streamline your cell stretching research with 64 pre-programmed stretch patterns that are perfect for your project’s needs. Skip the time-consuming process of building patterns from scratch and troubleshooting them.

Ready out of the box

Accelerate your timeline and start stretching as soon as you get your new plug-and-play system, plasma-treated PDMS chambers, and protocols catered to your applications. Forget the trial-and-error phase and start collecting data right away.

Cell Stretching System Models for Different Applications

Cell Stretching System, STB-1400

 ST-1400 and ST-1440

Cell Stretching System

Cell Stretching System, STB-100

ST-0040 and ST-0100

Cell Stretching System

Cell Stretching System, STB-150W


Microscope Mountable Uniaxial
Cell Stretching System

Cell Stretching System, STB-190-XY


Microscope Mountable Biaxial
Cell Stretching System

Unlock the Potential of Mechanotransduction Research with STREX Cell Stretching Systems

The proprietary Strex Cell Stretching System induces an equal mechanical stretch to cultured cells in ultra-thin flexible PDMS stretch chambers.

Simulate Physiological Conditions Using Specialized Cell Stretching Systems

Mechanical forces are involved in almost every biological process and are required for many cellular functions. Cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and osteocytes are constantly stretched. Studying mechanical cell stress can provide valuable insights into how cells respond to forces in their environment. The Strex Stretching Systems are the perfect tools for modeling in vivo stretching environments under in vitro conditions.

Strex Stretching Systems can mechanically stimulate monolayer and cultured cells and tissue in a variety of unique PDMS stretch chambers. Stretch manually to pilot your experiment and set up your protocols, or automate your stretch projects with 64 great preprogrammed stretch patterns for easy, high-throughput, long-term stretching in your incubator. Mount your stretch unit onto your microscope’s stage to observe your cells in real time with immunofluorescence or confocal microscopy while applying uniaxial or biaxial stretch.

Uniform Load

Every cell is subjected to a nearly uniform strain along the stretch axis (less than <5% variability). Ensuring that experiments are highly reproducible. But in the non-axial direction, the secondary load is much weaker.

High Reproducibility

The high-precision, high-torque stepping motor in the stretch unit allows for a consistent range of motion at a variety of speeds and stretch ratios. This motion stability, combined with the superior characteristics of the silicone film chamber, produces mechanical stretching that is highly reproducible, regardless of the stretching speed or distance.

Wide Range of Stretch Patterns

We can configure the system for eight different settings for the stretch ratio — degree of stretch desired — and eight for the frequency of the stretch movement. This results in 64 pre-programmed stretching patterns. We can manufacture custom patterns at high speed or stretch ratios at an extra cost.

Unique Stretch Chamber

Specifically developed for STREX machines, the PDMS chambers made from a silicone film help a variety of lab analysis techniques, including cell fixation and fluorescent imaging.

Cell Stretching System Results

Extracellular matrix coatings, such as fibronectin or collagen, applied to the stretch chamber promote cell adhesion and ease a seamless cell culture. The adhered cells are then stretched and compressed. Versions of the system that mount on microscope stages enable real-time observation of the changes that the cells manifest in response to these applied stress loads.

Experimental Overview
1. Seed cells onto a stretch chamber which is pre-treated with an extracellular matrix coating.
2. Cells adhere to the stretch chamber beginning an overnight culturing process.
3. Post cell proliferation, a stretching pattern is chosen, and the cycle begins. Cells are stretched as specified by the selected stretch pattern.
4. Conduct cell observation. (Cells in culture can be observed under the microscope if using the microscope mountable version)
5. Harvest/treat cells under the objectives of the experiment.

Click here for more information about stretch patterns, stretch chambers, and the chamber coating protocol.

Research Areas:

1. Biochemical experiments: Alteration of gene and protein expression, signal transmission, cell extract recovery and analysis, northern blotting, western blotting, and more.

2. Cell biology experiments: Cytoskeleton and cytoplasm rearrangement for observation of fixed and stained cells. 

3. Cell physiology experiments: Real-time observation of Ca2+ influx, based on various electrochemical conditions.

Research papers produced on Strex Systems can be found here.

Note: Supported applications vary, depending on the instrument employed.

Automated Cell Stretching System

  • Mechanically stimulate cultured cells in vitro.
  • Stretch up to 8 chambers in 64 pre-programmed patterns.
  • Run your stretch experiments in an incubator.
Cell Stretching System, STB-1400
Cell Stretching System, STB-1400 Control Unit


Main Unit
ModelsST-1440 (4 cm² chambers)ST-1400 (10 cm² chambers)
CapacitySupports up to 8 units in parallelSupports up to 6 units in parallel
Stretch DirectionUniaxial
Stretch RatioUp to 20%
FunctionStretches cells in culture by applying stress load to cells growing in vitro
Control Unit
– Generates 64 stretching patterns
– Adjustable stretch ratio and frequency via DIP switch
– Regulates motor-based cooling
– Reprogrammable for different stretching models
CablesSignal cable, tubing for motor cooling, reprogramming cable
Coolant SystemComponents: Coolant tank and tube
Function: Cools the main unit during long-term experiments with water
Mounting AssemblyDesign: Detachable stretch chamber mounting hook assembly
Feature: Can be covered with a lid and placed in a culture plate
Use: Transferable to a clean bench for aseptic operations and easier workflow


    • ST-1440 is the replacement model for STB-1400-04.
    • ST-1400 is the replacement model for STB-1400-10.

    Compatible Chambers

    ChamberImageCompatible Stretch DeviceCulture area (cm) / VolumeNotes
    SC-0040ST-1400/ST-00402.0 x 2.0 x 1.0Buy
    SC-0100ST-1400/ST-01003.2 x 3.2 x 1.0Buy
    SC-0015ST-1440/ST-14001.5 x 1.0 x 1.5For Achilles TendonBuy
    SC-0060St-1440/ST-14001.0 x 0.6 x 1.0For Pulmonary TissueBuy
    SC-1040ST-14404cc4 microchambers 20 x 20 mmBuy
    SC-1044ST-1440/ST-00401.0 x 1.0 x 1.0Buy
    SC-0044ST-1400/ST-01001.5 x 1.5 x 1.0

    Additional Information

    • The system can stretch cells in culture by applying a stress load to cells growing in vitro.
    • The system stretches cells in up to 6 or 8 chambers simultaneously for easy comparison between parallel samples and has 64 pre-programmed stretch patterns to save researchers time.
    • The mechanical stretching unit operates inside an incubator and the control unit sits outside for remote access. The stretch chamber mounting unit can be transferred to a clean bench for aseptic operations and an easier workflow.

    Overview of Strex's automated cell stretching system

    Strex Cell Stretching System

    High-speed models are available upon request.

    Manual Cell Stretching System

    Price: USD 1,045

    • Manual Cell Stretching System for evaluative purposes.
    • Two versions available: 4 cm2 or 10 cm2 stretch chambers.
    • Conduct observations under a microscope for real-time cell observation.
    Cell Stretching System, STB-100


    Chambers4 cm² chambers10 cm² chambers and multi-well chambers
    Stretch RatioUp to 20% max. Each turn of the dial increases the ratio by 0.5 mm (equating to a 2.5% increase for the ST-0040 system and 1.6% for the ST-0100).
    Stretch DirectionUniaxial


    • ST-0040 is the replacement model for STB-100-04.
    • ST-0100 is the replacement model for STB-100-10.
    • Cells should be cultured by placing the stretch system into a culture plate.

    Compatible Chambers

    ChamberImageCompatible Stretch DeviceCulture area (cm) / Volume
    SC-0040ST-1400/ST-00402.0 x 2.0 x 1.0Buy
    SC-0100ST-1400/ST-01003.2 x 3.2 x 1.0Buy
    SC-1044ST-1440/ST-00401.0 x 1.0 x 1.0Buy
    SC-0044ST-1400/ST-01001.5 x 1.5 x 1.0

    Additional Information

    The Manual Cell Stretching System applies stretching and compression force to cells, but it is manually operated by hand. It is used for evaluative purposes in considering the introduction of a fully automated stretching system, such as the ST-1400. The manual system employs the same chambers as the ST-1400 system. Two versions are available, depending on the size of the stretch chamber desired; 4 cm2 or 10 cm2.

    Conducting observations using the manual cell stretching system under a microscope: To capture images under a microscope, fix the chamber with the device in a flipped position, opposite to the normal orientation. This will allow for the observation of cells in real-time. However, note that the reproducibility of this machine is much lower than that of an automated machine, such as the ST-1400.

    Strex Manual Cell Stretching System

    Microscope Mountable

    Uniaxial Cell Stretching System



    ST-1500 – Main Unit

    ST-1500 – Control Unit

    • Stretch cells in culture using stress load, observe their response.
    • 64 pre-programmed stretch patterns save researchers time.
    • Mount the mechanical stretching unit on a microscope stage for imaging inside an incubator.

    Mounted ST-1500 Close-up


    Employs 1 cm² chamber.
    Stretching Patterns: Up to 64 patterns.
    High speed and single stretch patterns with up to 30% ratio are available for a custom price.
    Stretch Direction: Uniaxial

    Main Unit: Compatible with Nikon, Olympus, Zeiss, and Leica Microscopes.
    We will need stage drawings to build the stage adapter.
    Control Unit: Activates the main unit to put in place the desired stretching pattern for one cell culture.


    • ST-1500 is the replacement model for STB-150W. 
    • Video output through computer/monitor is not provided. Strex does not sell these.

    Compatible Chambers

    ChamberImageCompatible Stretch DeviceCulture area (cm) / VolumeNotes
    SC-0022STB-CH-04ST-15001.0 x 1.0 x 0.02

    Up to 40x magnification

    (In order to see at this magnification the motor must be turned off briefly.)


    Additional Information

    • The system stretches cells in culture by applying a stress load and can stretch cells in a single chamber in one direction to observe the cells’ response to stretch.
    • 64 pre-programmed stretch patterns are available to save researchers time. The system’s mechanical stretching unit can be mounted to an existing microscope stage and operated with a microscope that can image inside an incubator.
    • The system can capture an image at up to 40x resolution, but the resolution is limited by the thickness of the chamber membrane. For higher resolution, custom chambers with thinner membranes are available.

    SP-1500 Cover Glass Applicator
    The included SP-1500 Cover Glass Stage applies 2 glass slides to the bottom of the chamber to minimize friction when stretching and maintain the rigidity of the chambers. A 200 µm gap is created between the slides where cells under observation are seeded.

    The chamber is then positioned in the ST-1500 with pins that pierce the thick sides of the chamber from the top (glass slides are on the bottom).



    Cells need to be observed within minutes of removing from the incubator to maintain activity before they enter a dormant state.

     Strex Stretching System ST-1500 mounted on the Etaluma Live Cell Incubator Microscope (microscope and laptop not included with the ST-1500)

    Microscope Mountable

    Biaxial Cell Stretching System


    • Stretch cells in culture with stress load, in one or two directions.
    • Mechanical stretching unit operates in the incubator, with 64 pre-programmed patterns.
    • Stretch cells in two directions or uniaxially, facilitating various experiments.


    Main Unit: Compatible with Nikon, Olympus, Zeiss, and Leica microscopes. Stage drawings are required for the necessary stage adapter to be built.
    Control Unit: Actuates the main unit to implement the desired stretching pattern for one cell culture.

    ST-1900: Employs 4 cm² chamber designed for XY bidirectional stretching
    Stretching Patterns: Up to 64 patterns. Custom patterns for high-velocity stretch are available for purchase.
    Stretch Direction: Biaxial stretch, but is capable of a uniaxial stretch as well.


    • ST-1900 is the replacement model for STB-190-XY.
    • Video output through computer/monitor is not provided. Strex does not sell these.

    Compatible Chambers

    ChamberImageCompatible Stretch DeviceCulture area (cm) / Volume
    SC-0042STB-CH-04ST-19002.0 x 2.0 x 1.0Buy

    Additional Information

    • The system is capable of stretching cells in culture by applying stress load and can stretch cells in a single chamber in one or two directions while allowing for imaging before and after stretch.
    • The system’s mechanical stretching unit operates inside an incubator on top of a microscope, while the control unit and video output are placed outside, has 64 pre-programmed stretch patterns which make it easy to get experiments started.
    • The system can stretch cells in two directions, but also allows uniaxial stretch as well.

    The comprehensive guide to setting up a successful cell stretch experiment

    Cell stretching experiments are an important tool for modeling biological function and are the focus of great interest in research and industry.  This guide provides advice on how to set up a stretch experiment.

    Compare Models

    Applications• Cytoskeleton rearrangements
    • Cell morphology
    • Gene or protein expression
    • For continuous mode/sustained stretch applications
    • Cytoskeleton rearrangements
    • Cell morphology
    •Gene or protein expression
    • Signal transduction
    • Long duration studies (hours-days)
    No. of chambers1186
    Chamber size-culture surface area4 cm²10 cm²4 cm²10 cm²
    StrainUniaxial stretchUniaxial stretchUniaxial stretchUniaxial stretch
    Microscope mountable
    IncubatorFits in standard incubator *²Fits in standard incubator *²Fits in a standard incubatorFits in a standard incubator
    No. strain programsManual continuous/sustained stretchManual continuous/sustained stretchAutomated/64 patternsAutomated/64 patterns
    Applications• Cytoskeleton rearrangements
    • Cell morphology
    • Ion mobilization
    • Calcium Influx
    • Nitric oxide production
    • Real-time observation of cultures
    • Short duration studies (15-20 minutes) without a micro incubator
    No. of chambers11
    Chamber size-culture surface area1 cm²4 cm²
    StrainUniaxial stretchBiaxial stretch & compression
    Microscope mountableFits Nikon and Olympus *1Fits Nikon and Olympus *1
    IncubatorFits in a standard incubatorFits in a standard incubator
    No. strain programsAutomated/64 patternsAutomated/64 patterns

    *1: Optional stage adapter available for Zeiss and Leica
    *2: Stretch chamber placed in a culture dish

    FAQs on Cultured Cells

    Stretch Chambers and Stretching Stimulation
    • Does autoclaving affect cell adhesion on stretch chambers?
      Autoclaving does not affect adhesion, however, you should not use aluminum foil. Use special sterilized bags.
    • Can we reuse the stretch chambers?
      The stretch chambers are intended for one-time use. Cross-contamination between experiments cannot be completely removed, and the reuse of stretch chambers may compromise the integrity of the experiment.
    • What are the materials and characteristics of the stretch chambers?
      The material of our stretch chambers is a thin silicone elastomer whose main part is made of Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The surface has strong hydrophobic and weak cell adhesiveness. In cell culture, the chambers must be first coated with an extracellular matrix (e.g. fibronectin, collagen, laminin, gelatin) to strengthen the cell adhesiveness of the culture surface (see coating protocols). PDMS chambers bounce back from stretching and compression with their original properties intact. Thus, the chambers demonstrate good reproducibility in applications requiring continuous mechanical stretching over prolonged periods. An optically transparent, ultra-thin (100 – 200 μm) membrane at the well bottom not only makes stretch chambers compatible with optical microscopy techniques but with fluorescence detection and microscopy as well.
    • Is a uniform stress load applied to every cell in the stretch chamber?
      Our unique stretching system enables uniform stress loading due to the materials and methods employed and the shapes of stretch chambers. The STREX Cell Stretching System is designed to achieve stretching in a single, parallel direction, with only a very weak secondary load. Research has demonstrated that the STREX system enables highly reproducible cyclic stretching over prolonged periods at ratios of 1 – 20%. (Ref) Naruse. K., et al. (1998), Oncogene,17:455-463.
    • What is the difference in cell response between sustained stretching and cyclic stretching?
      It is reported that the signal transduction systems and biochemical responses stimulated in the cells under sustained cellular stretching and those under periodic cellular stretching differs. (Ref) Sasamoto et al, 2005, 288, C1012-22.
    • Are the stretch chambers sterilized?
      Stretch chambers as sold are non-sterile. The chamber must be autoclaved for 20 minutes at 180°C. Aluminum foil should not be used in the autoclaving process. Rather, autoclave bags (sterilization pouches) are recommended.
      Note: Chambers are disposable and heat-resistant from 0° to 180°C. Product quality and cell adhesion performance are not guaranteed when the chambers are reused, or used outside the range of heat resistance.
    • Are you able to manufacture chambers larger than shown in your catalog?
      We manufacture stretch chambers for mass cultures by special order.
    • Can we preserve coated chambers for future use?
      We recommend coating the chambers just before use.
    • Are there any solutes that may emerge from the stretching system?
      PDMS or polymerization initiators with low molecular weight may emerge, however, we have never received a report saying these substances harm the experiments.
    • The culture medium is not of uniform thickness. Why is that?
      Due to the thinness of the elastic silicone membrane, the chamber may slack in the center. The ultra-thin film (100 – 200 μm) facilitates the observation of samples. Our experience shows that this variation in chamber thickness does not considerably affect uniform stress load.
    • Why does the culture medium evaporate after a few days while using an STB-1400 stretching system?
      The STB-1400 is not suitable for long-term culture, as it requires daily replenishment of culture fluid. We recommend using our stretching systems suitable for long-term culture. Additionally, check that the lid of the system is put on during the experiment. Placing a 35 mm or 60 mm dish with water at any location within the stretching system will slow the evaporation of the culture fluid. The velocity of the evaporation of culture fluid heavily depends on the condition of the incubator. Check the condition of evaporation dishes, and confirm that sufficient coolant is in the plastic container attached to the stretching system and it circulates properly. If you do not have any problems with the above and still have the evaporation problem, try to put cotton wool with purified water near the chamber of the stretching system.
    • We use reagents with phenols for RNA extraction. How much will the silicone materials of the chambers degrade when we add the reagents directly?
      We recommend that you dispose of the chambers after a single use as they are not intended for multiple uses.
    • Do you have any recommendations for gels to use for 3D cyclic stretching?
      We recommend collagen gels for use in 3D cyclic stretching at this time. We have successfully used the following gel in-house: KOKEN’s DME-02 Neutral collagen solution DMEM 2 mg/mL Atelocollagen, DMEM.
    Cell Adhesion
    • Can we coat chambers under UV rays?
      It is not recommended to coat chambers under UV rays. UV exposure after coating may denature proteins in the extracellular matrix on the chamber and may affect adhesiveness.
    • Cell adhesion appears to be different from chamber to chamber. What could be the cause?
      In producing the stretch chambers, STREX works to assure that there are no creases or other imperfections on any of the surfaces. However, given the exceptionally thin membranes involved, creases can easily develop. Therefore it is important to use great care with the bottom surface when seeding the cells. To avoid creases, first, treat a culture dish by dripping a bit of ethanol on it. Then set the chamber on the dish and tilt the dish and chamber, taking care not to introduce any air between the two. Allow some time for the ethanol to evaporate. The chamber will then be in optimal condition for seeding and culturing the cells with high adhesion.
    • Does the silicone film need to be hydrophilic before applying the coating agents?
      Stretch chambers become hydrophilic with plasma processing before shipping.
    • How do you confirm the completion of a coating?
      Some cells adhere without coating. For example, some cells secrete collagens, such as smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts. You can check the degree of coatings on the chambers using antibodies, however, this method sacrifices a chamber.
    • Do we have to air-dry after a four-hour standing?
      We coat it with fibronectin just before using it and have never done air-drying. However, some users have reported air-drying after coating with collagen.
    • Do you coat with fibronectins without pretreatment on the methyl groups on the surface?
      We do not recommend conducting any treatments on the surface of the chambers. Some chamber treatments during the manufacturing process such as plasma processing may cause nonspecific absorption with cells. If you want to observe specific bonding between fibronectins, collagens, and integrins, you may special order the chambers without plasma processing, giving them strong hydrophobic properties.
    • Which extracellular matrix works best for cell adhesion?  Fibronectin, gelatin, or collagen?
      Cell adhesion to the stretch chamber membrane is entirely dependent on the cells binding to the extracellular matrix coating. The cells themselves vary in adhesive properties from one cell type to another and even vary between different cell lines of the same cell type. Therefore, before conducting any stretching experimentation or research, it is important to be aware of the adhesiveness and the required conditions for whatever coating is to be employed.
      See coating protocols as a reference.
    • Adhesion to the stretch chamber was confirmed under the microscope before the stretch stimulus was initiated, yet after the stretching, the cells no longer adhered. What could have caused the cells to detach from the chamber surface?
      There are three possible causes:
      1. Cell density
      The cell concentration of the culture may be too dense. Generally speaking, over-confluence will cause the adhesive force between cells to increase beyond the adhesive force between the cells and the extracellular matrix. This relative decrease in extracellular adhesion can lead to cells detaching from the stretch chamber.
      2. Enzyme treatment
      Trypsin and other enzyme treatment can damage cells. However, this may not be obvious in experiments conducted with standard dishes, because the binding to the dishes’ plastic wells is nonspecific. By contrast, when stretch chambers are employed, adhesion is attained solely by the extracellular matrix coating. Thus, relatively severe enzyme damage will cause stretch chamber adhesion to fail. Please see the tip on trypsin treatment (below) that addresses this issue.
      3. Coating
      Cells will not adhere to the stretch chamber if the coating is insufficient. This insufficiency is indicated when the chamber surface easily repels liquid after the applied coating has been absorbed. Extend the coating application and setting time should this occur.
    • Cells seeded onto the stretch chamber sometimes aggregate at the center of the chamber. Is there any technique to avoid this aggregation?
      Cells may be migrating toward the center of the stretch chamber due to the vibration of the incubator. If that is the issue, seed the cells normally, then after 15 minutes, gently tilt the chamber from side to side.
    • Are rounded cells difficult to be stretched even though they adhere to the chamber?
      Rounded cells are generally more difficult to be stretched in comparison with flat-shaped cells.
    • In a long-term experiment with the cells in culture under continuing stress, what is the longest period that the stretching stimulus can be applied?
      Generally speaking, cells in the incubator can be stretched for two weeks. However, in these long-term experiments, the culture fluid has to be replaced at 2-3 day intervals. Also, there must be enough motor coolant to ensure the motor is running at a safe temperature throughout the long-term culture. Insufficient coolant may cause the temperature in and around the motor to rise, in turn destroying the cells and/or damaging the equipment.
    • What is the optimal cell count to be placed on the chamber?
      In general, 200,000 cells/chamber (4 mL of culture medium) is proper from our experience.
    • Is it preferred to do the coating at room temperature?
      The manufacturer recommends the coating at room temperature.
    • We are planning an experiment using neurons. Is it okay to coat them with laminin?
      We do not foresee any problems with laminin coating, but unfortunately, we do not have any experience using laminin coating.
    • What density of cells is adequate when we put them on chambers?
      It depends on the experiment you are planning. As a general guide, we say that the cells of 5 × 104 cm2 are adequate.
    Cells to Use
    • Do you have any videos of cells recorded in time-lapse capturing?
      Unfortunately, no videos are available. Please refer to the following paper for photos of fluorescent images of GFP-actin-transferred cells in the stretched state on stretch chambers.
    • Can we stretch myocardial cells?
      Yes. Please see this reference.
    • Can we load shear stress on cells?
      The system is intended to work with adhesive cells, therefore it is not possible to load shear stress with this system.
    • Can we stretch cells undergoing gene transfer?
      You can conduct gene transfer directly on stretch chambers. However, the transfer work damages cells so it becomes difficult to snap high-quality images. We recommend that you conduct the transfer on cells in dishes before being placed on the stretch chamber.
    Experiments after Stretching
    • How can cell proteins or mRNA be obtained from the stretch chamber after culturing?
      1. Western blotting: Wash with PBS, add electrophoresis sample buffer directly to the stretch chamber, then collect the cell lysate with a cell scraper.
      2. Immunoprecipitation: Wash with PBS, add cell solubilizer directly to the stretch chamber, then collect the cell lysate with a cell scraper.
      3. mRNA: Wash with PBS suitable for RNA, add cell solubilizer directly to the stretch chamber, then collect the cell lysate with a cell scraper.
    • Is there an assay to measure the tension load for fibroblasts?
      We recommend phosphorylation of ERK with Western Blotting.
    • Could you show any report saying the amount of mRNA in the gene of mechanosensitive channels changes drastically under stretching stimulation?
      Some genes in mechanosensitive channels are well known, however many of them have not been identified yet. So we cannot show the references on this topic at this time.
      Is there any report saying the amount of β-actin in cells is changed under stress?
      The amount of β-actin in cells is not considered to change so drastically under stresses, except for long-term experiments.
    Fixation, Staining, and Observation of Cells
    • Can we conduct fluorescent staining and observations with the membrane stretched?
      Yes. Follow the protocol on page 20 of the manual or use our trial kit with a stretching stand.
    • We are planning to stretch the cells on the chambers to observe them after fixation and staining. Do your chambers degrade on the fixation and staining?
      If you use acetone or chloroform, the silicone film of the chambers may swell a little. You have no problems with methanol.
      Tip: Splicing the silicone chamber film into approx. 5 mm x 5 mm makes your work easier. You can observe good images by putting the cell plane side onto the cover glass.
    • Can we use an immersion lens in the observation of fixed and fluorescent-stained cells after stretching? Are there any limitations to the observation?
      You can use an immersion lens. However, the choice of chamber is limited following the size of the objective lens to use.
    • The microscope observations appear out of focus.
      1. Did you use an oil immersion lens? The existing PDMS films swell when they are exposed to oils and make the observation difficult. We recommend using a water-immersion lens if available.
      2. Did you use fixed samples for fluorescence observations? We recommend splicing samples with a razor after fixation and staining to enclose them on cover glass in the up-side-down state, and then observe them. In this case, there is no problem with the observations with an oil-immersion lens.
    • Can we conduct stretching with a biomembrane attached to the stretch chambers (to conserve the orientation of cells)?
      Yes. Usually, we stretch the cell sheets with cell sheet cramps. Otherwise, we can exchange the inner chamber sheet with a biomembrane in the stretching with a double-structured transwell.
    • Is there a method for standard observation and photographing stretch-stressed cells in their stretched position, using a standard optical microscope?
      With the STB-1400 Cell Stretching System, this is accomplished by employing a static stretch chamber stand, which holds the samples in the stretched state. Alternatively, cells can be observed and photographed using one of the microscope-mountable stretching systems established directly on the microscope stage.
    • STB-150W has a limitation of 20 minutes in continuous stretching operation. Can we conduct a continuous observation of 60 minutes (approx.) with long intervals between each stretch?
      Yes. You can conduct a continuous observation of one hour if you limit the frequency of stretching up to 10 times/min. In this case, you will need 1) a thermal insulator and 2) a thermostatic reflux system.
    • Could you show an approximate figure of this stretching force, depicted with mechanical units?
      The stretching force cannot be measured with our equipment. An example of a system that measures loading force on cells under stretching is shown in this paper.
    • Do you have any recommendations for antiseptics to add to the coolant container?
      We have no recommendations for any particular brand, but you may use the antiseptics used in your laboratory or the antiseptics for incubator water jackets. Alternatively, you can get by with no antiseptics during an experiment if you change the water when you start another experiment.
    • Is it okay to wash the inside of the silicone tubes for cooling with a neutral or an alkaline detergent?
      No, we suggest washing it with DI water or antiseptics as mentioned above.
    • On sterilization: Is it safe to reflux ethanol in the plastic container? Is it safe to use hypochlorous acid?
      Reflux with ethanol is okay. Highly concentrated hypochlorous acid may harm the pump valves. Please be cautious about the density in the use of hypochlorous acid (a density of 50-100 ppm is okay).

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