Mechanical constraints have a high impact on development processes, and there is a need for new tools to investigate the role of mechanosensitive pathways in tissue reorganization during development. We present here experiments in which embryonic cell aggregates are aspired through constrictions in microfluidic channels, generating highly heterogeneous flows and large cell deformations that can be imaged using two-photon microscopy. This approach provides a way to measure in situ local viscoelastic properties of 3D tissues and connect them to intracellular and intercellular events, such as cell shape changes and cell rearrangements. These methods could be applied to organoids to investigate and quantify rheological properties of tissues, and to understand how constraints affect development.

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