Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 55, Issue 8, pp 1441–1449 | Cite as

HAMr: A Mechanical Impactor for Repeated Dynamic Loading of In vitro Neuronal Networks

  • S. Koumlis
  • D. Buecker
  • G. Moler
  • V. Eliasson
  • P. Sengupta


A new tool for exploring the effects of repeated low-amplitude mechanical impacts onto in vitro neuronal networks is presented. The experimental setup, HAMr, is specifically designed to allow variability in impact conditions while ensuring a highly repeatable result. HAMr’s functionality to induce inflammation related to mild traumatic brain injuries has been validated by assessing its capability to induce elevated expression of the inflammatory protein IL-1 β in in vitro neuronal cell cultures. The two main results obtained for the inflammatory response in dissociated cortical networks, presented for a range of impact force amplitude and total number of impacts, can be summarized as follows. First, the results demonstrate a strong correlation between ensuing inflammation level and numbers of impact. Second, the results indicate a possible existence of a safe threshold of number of impacts that does not initiate an inflammatory response.


In vitro Neuronal networks Dynamic loading Blunt impact Repeated impacts 



We would like to thank Anton Schuetze-Coburn, Michael Ray and Rodney Yates for help with machining and design of HAMr, the USC Viterbi Machine Shop and the WSU Spokane Microscopy Core Lab for access to their equipment. Parijat Sengupta’s work was supported by the ISP/Applied Sciences Laboratory, WSU


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Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Koumlis
    • 1
  • D. Buecker
    • 1
  • G. Moler
    • 1
  • V. Eliasson
    • 1
  • P. Sengupta
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Aerospace and Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.ISP/Applied Sciences LaboratoryWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  3. 3.Department of Bioengineering and Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and TechnologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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