Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

Open source timed pressure control hardware and software for delivery of air mediated distensions in animal models. HardwareX 2022 Apr;11:e00271



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85124207731 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)


Studying the visceral sensory component of peripheral nervous systems can be challenging due to limited options for consistent and controlled stimulation. One method for mechanical stimulation of hollow organs, including the colon and bladder, is controlled distensions mediated by compressed air. For example, distension of the bladder can be used as an assay for bladder nociception. Bladder distension causes a corresponding increase in abdominal electromyography, which increases with distension pressure and is attenuated with analgesics. However, the hardware used to control these distensions are primarily all one-off custom builds, without clear directions on how to build your own. This has made it difficult for these methods to be fully utilized and replicated as not everyone has the access, knowledge, and resources required to build this controller. Here we show an open-source Arduino-based system for controlling a solenoid valve to deliver timed pressure distensions in the experimental model. This device can be controlled by one of two methods through direct TTL pulses from the experimenter's data acquisition software (ex. CED Spike2) or by a graphical user interface, where the user can set the time before, during, and after distension as well as the number of cycles. This system's low cost and relative ease to build will allow more groups to utilize timed pressure distensions in their experiments.

Author List

Patel T, Hendren J, Lee N, Mickle AD


Aaron D. Mickle PhD Associate Professor in the Physiology department at Medical College of Wisconsin