Contemporary tissue engineered heart valves seem to have sufficient mechanical strength for implantation [1]. Nevertheless, mechanical properties, tissue structure and architecture still need to be improved. Recent studies indicate enhancement of mechanical properties by applying cyclic diastolic pressure loads to the developing tissue in a bioreactor system [2]. However, current bioreactors operate with a preset transvalvular pressure applied to the tissue. Mechanical properties of the engineered construct may vary during culturing and consequently, the pressure-induced deformations are unknown. To systematically study the effects of mechanical straining on tissue development and to design an optimal conditioning protocol, real-time measurement and control of local tissue strains are desired.

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