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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2015, Article ID 953584, 8 pages
Research Article

Cyclic Strain Enhances Cellular Uptake of Nanoparticles

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Bioengineering Program, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA

Received 26 February 2015; Revised 21 June 2015; Accepted 7 July 2015

Academic Editor: Rossella Bedini

Copyright © 2015 Jia Hu and Yaling Liu. 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.


Nanoparticles (NPs) have gained increasing interest in recent years due to their potential use as drug carrier, imaging, and diagnostic agents in pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. While many cells in vivo experience mechanical forces, little is known about the correlation of the mechanical stimulation and the internalization of NPs into cells. This paper investigates the effects of applied cyclic strain on NP uptake by cells. Bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) were cultured on collagen-coated culture plates and placed under cyclic equal-axial strains. NPs of sizes ranging from 50 to 200 nm were loaded at a concentration of 0.02 mg/mL and cyclic strains from 5 to 15% were applied to the cells for one hour. The cyclic strain results in a significant enhancement in NP uptake, which increases almost linearly with strain level. The enhanced uptake also depends on size of the NPs with the highest uptake observed on 100 nm NP. The effect of enhanced NP uptake lasts around 13 hours after cyclic stretch. Such in vitro cell stretch systems mimic physiological conditions of the endothelial cells in vivo and could potentially serve as a biomimetic platform for drug therapeutic evaluation.