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Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
Volume 2016, Article ID 7465095, 7 pages
Research Article

A DIC Based Technique to Measure the Contraction of a Skeletal Muscle Engineered Tissue

1Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Rome La Sapienza, Via Eudossiana 18, 00184 Rome, Italy
2Center for Life Nano Science@Sapienza, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Viale Regina Elena 291, 00161 Rome, Italy
3Institute Pasteur Cenci-Bolognetti, Interuniversity Institute of Myology, Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic Medicine and Orthopedic Sciences (DAHFMO), Unit of Histology and Medical Embryology, University of Rome La Sapienza, Via A. Scarpa 16, 00161 Rome, Italy

Received 13 November 2015; Revised 11 February 2016; Accepted 15 February 2016

Academic Editor: Hoon Eui Jeong

Copyright © 2016 Emanuele Rizzuto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Tissue engineering is a multidisciplinary science based on the application of engineering approaches to biologic tissue formation. Engineered tissue internal organization represents a key aspect to increase biofunctionality before transplant and, as regarding skeletal muscles, the potential of generating contractile forces is dependent on the internal fiber organization and is reflected by some macroscopic parameters, such as the spontaneous contraction. Here we propose the application of digital image correlation (DIC) as an independent tool for an accurate and noninvasive measurement of engineered muscle tissue spontaneous contraction. To validate the proposed technique we referred to the X-MET, a promising 3-dimensional model of skeletal muscle. The images acquired through a high speed camera were correlated with a custom-made algorithm and the longitudinal strain predictions were employed for measuring the spontaneous contraction. The spontaneous contraction reference values were obtained by studying the force response. The relative error between the spontaneous contraction frequencies computed in both ways was always lower than 0.15%. In conclusion, the use of a DIC based system allows for an accurate and noninvasive measurement of biological tissues’ spontaneous contraction, in addition to the measurement of tissue strain field on any desired region of interest during electrical stimulation.