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Electric and Magnetic Field Devices for Stimulation of Biological Tissues

Published: May 15th, 2021



1Biomimetics Laboratory, Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2Numerical Methods and Modeling Research Group (GNUM), Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 3Design, Analysis and Development of Engineering Systems Research group (GIDAD), Fundación Universitaria Los Libertadores, 4School of Health and Sports Sciences, Master Program in Epidemiology, Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina

This protocol describes the step-by-step process to build both electrical and magnetic stimulators used to stimulate biological tissues. The protocol includes a guideline to simulate computationally electric and magnetic fields and manufacture of stimulator devices.

Electric fields (EFs) and magnetic fields (MFs) have been widely used by tissue engineering to improve cell dynamics such as proliferation, migration, differentiation, morphology, and molecular synthesis. However, variables such stimuli strength and stimulation times need to be considered when stimulating either cells, tissues or scaffolds. Given that EFs and MFs vary according to cellular response, it remains unclear how to build devices that generate adequate biophysical stimuli to stimulate biological samples. In fact, there is a lack of evidence regarding the calculation and distribution when biophysical stimuli are applied. This protocol is focused on the design and manufacture of devices to generate EFs and MFs and implementation of a computational methodology to predict biophysical stimuli distribution inside and outside of biological samples. The EF device was composed of two parallel stainless-steel electrodes located at the top and bottom of biological cultures. Electrodes were connected to an oscillator to generate voltages (50, 100, 150 and 200 Vp-p) at 60 kHz. The MF device was composed of a coil, which was energized with a transformer to generate a current (1 A) and voltage (6 V) at 60 Hz. A polymethyl methacrylate support was built to locate the biological cultures in the middle of the coil. The computational simulation elucidated the homogeneous distribution of EFs and MFs inside and outside of biological tissues. This computational model is a promising tool that can modify parameters such as voltages, frequencies, tissue morphologies, well plate types, electrodes and coil size to estimate the EFs and MFs to achieve a cellular response.

EFs and MFs have been shown to modify cell dynamics, stimulating proliferation and increasing synthesis of the main molecules associated with the extracellular matrix of tissues1. These biophysical stimuli can be applied in different ways by using specific settings and devices. Regarding the devices to generate EFs, direct coupling stimulators use electrodes that are in contact with biological samples in vitro or implanted directly into tissues of patients and animals in vivo2; however, there are still limitations and deficiencies that include insufficient biocompatibility by the electrodes in contact, changes in the pH ....

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1. Simulation of EFs and MFs

NOTE: Simulation of EFs and MFs was performed in COMSOL Multiphysics.

  1. Select an axisymmetric 2D configuration to represent both domains electric and magnetic.
  2. In the physic configuration, select either the Electric Current interface to compute EFs in parallel electrodes or the Magnetic Field interface to compute MFs around coils.
  3. In the study configuration, select Frequency Domain to.......

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Computational simulation
Distributions of EFs and MFs are shown in Figure 3. On the one hand, it was possible to observe the homogeneous distribution of EFs in the capacitive system (Figure 3A). The EF was plotted to observe in detail the magnitude of the field inside the biological sample (Figure 3B). This simulation was useful to parametrize the size of the electrodes and manufacture them to avoid the edge e.......

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Treatments used to heal different pathologies that affect human tissues are pharmacological therapies32 or surgical interventions33, which seek to relieve pain locally or replace affected tissues with explants or transplants. Recently, autologous cell therapy has been proposed as an alternative therapy to treat injured tissues, where cells are isolated from patient and expanded, through in vitro techniques, to be implanted at the site of the injury34.......

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The authors thank the financial support provided by "Fondo Nacional de Financiamiento para la Ciencia, la Tecnología, y la Innovación -Fondo Francisco José de Caldas- Minciencias" and Universidad Nacional de Colombia through the grant No. 80740-290-2020 and the support received by Valteam Tech - Research and Innovation for providing the equipment and technical support in the edition of the video.


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Electrical stimulator
Operational amplifier Motorola LF-353N ----
Quantity: 1
Resistors ---- ---- 22 kΩ
Quantity: 1
Resistors ---- ---- 10 kΩ
Quantity: 3
Resistors ---- ---- 2.6 kΩ
Quantity: 2
Resistors ---- ---- 2.2 kΩ
Quantity: 1
Resistors ---- ---- 1 kΩ
Quantity: 1
Resistors ---- ---- 220 Ω
Quantity: 2
Resistors ---- ---- 22 Ω
Quantity: 5
Resistors ---- ---- 10 Ω
Quantity: 1
Resistors ---- ---- 6.8 Ω
Quantity: 1
Resistors ---- ---- 3.3 Ω
Quantity: 2
Polyester capacitors ---- ---- 1 nF
Quantity: 2
Polyester capacitors ---- ---- 100 nF
Quantity: 1
VHF Band Amplifier Transistor JFET Toshiba 2SK161 ----
Quantity: 1
Power transistor BJT NPN Mospec TIP 31C ----
Quantity: 1
Zener diode Microsemi 1N4148 ----
Quantity: 1
Switch Toogle Switch SPDT - T13 ----
Quantity: 3
Toroidal ferrite core Caracol ---- T*22*14*8
Quantity: 1
Cooper wire Greenshine ---- AWG – 24
Quantity: 1
Relimate header with female housing ADAFRUIT ---- 8 pin connectors
Quantity: 1
Relimate header with female housing ADAFRUIT ---- 2 pin connectors
Quantity: 1
Female plug terminal connector JIALUN ---- 4mm Lantern Plugs (Plug + Socket) 15 A
Quantity: 1
Aluminum Heat Sink AWIND ---- For TIP 31C transistor
Quantity: 1
Led CHANZON ---- 5 mm red
Quantity: 1
Integrated circuit socket connector Te Electronics Co., Ltd. ---- Double row 8-pin DIP
Quantity: 1
3 pin connectors set STAR ---- JST PH 2.0
Quantity: 3
2 pin screw connectors STAR ---- For PCB
Quantity: 1
3 pin screw connectors STAR ---- For PCB
Quantity: 1
Banana connector test lead JIALUN ---- P1041 - 4 mm - 15 A
Quantity: 7
Bullet connectors to banana plug charge lead JIALUN ---- 4 mm male-male/female-female adapters - 15 A
Quantity: 1
Case ---- ---- ABS
Quantity: 1
Electrodes ---- ---- Stainless – steel
Quantity: 2
Electrode support ---- ---- Teflon
Quantity: 2
Printed circuit board Quantity: 1
Magnetic stimulator
Cooper wire Greenshine ---- AWG – 18
Quantity: 1
AC power plugs ---- ---- 120 V AC – 60 Hz
Quantity: 1
Banana female connector test lead JIALUN ---- 1Set Dual Injection - 4 mm – 15 A
Quantity: 2
Banana male connector test lead JIALUN ---- 1Set Dual Injection - 4 mm 15 A
Quantity: 1
Cell culture well plate support ---- ---- PMMA
Quantity: 1
Fuse Bussmann 2A ----
Quantity: 1
Transformer ---- ---- 1A – 6 V AC
Quantity: 1
Tube ---- ---- PVC
Quantity: 1
Variable rheostat MCP BXS150 10 Ω
Quantity: 1
General equipment
Digital dual source  PeakTech DG 1022Z 2 x 0 - 30 V / 0 - 5 A CC / 5 V / 3 A fijo
Quantity: 1
Digital Oscilloscope Rigol DS1104Z Plus 100 MHz, bandwidth, 4 channels
Quantity: 1
Digital multimeter Fluke F179 Voltage CC – CA (1000 V). Current CC – CA 10 A. Frequency 100 kHz
Quantity: 1

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