Piezo-electrically driven mechanical stimulation of sensory neurons.

  • Hao Jizhe
  • Ruel Jérôme
  • Coste Bertrand
  • Roudaut Yann
  • Crest Marcel
  • Delmas Patrick


Mechanotransduction, the conversion of a mechanical stimulus into a biological response, constitutes the basis of a variety of physiological functions such as the senses of touch, balance, proprioception, blood pressure, and hearing. In vertebrates, mechanosensation is mediated by mechanosensory neurons, whose cell bodies are located in trigeminal and dorsal root ganglia. Here, we describe an in vitro model of mechanotransduction that provides an opportunity to explore the properties of mechanosensitive channels in mammalian sensory neurons. The mechano-clamp method allows applying local force on plasma membrane of whole-cell patch-clamped sensory neurons. This technique uses a mechanical probe driven by a computer-assisted piezoelectric microstage to repeatedly stimulate sensory neurons with accurate control of stimulus strength, duration, and speed.