The European Physical Journal E

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 149–167

Measurement of membrane elasticity by micro-pipette aspiration


DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2003-10146-y

Cite this article as:
Henriksen, J.R. & Ipsen, J.H. Eur. Phys. J. E (2004) 14: 149. doi:10.1140/epje/i2003-10146-y


The classical micro-pipette aspiration technique, applied for measuring the membrane bending elasticity, is in the present work reviewed and extended to span the range of pipette aspiration pressures going through the flaccid (low pressures) to tense (high pressures) membrane regime. The quality of the conventional methods for analysing data is evaluated using numerically generated data and a new method for data analysis, based on thermodynamic analysis and detailed statistical mechanical modelling, is introduced. The analysis of the classical method, where the membrane bending modulus is obtained from micro-pipette aspiration data acquired in the low-pressure regime, reveals a significant correction from membrane stretching elasticity. The new description, which includes the full vesicle geometry and both the membrane bending and stretching elasticity, is used for the interpretation of micro-pipette aspiration experiments conducted on SOPC (stearoyl-oleoyl-phosphatidyl-choline) lipid vesicles in the fluid phase. The data analysis, which is extended by detailed image analysis and a fitting procedure based on Monte Carlo integration, gives an estimate of the bending modulus, that agrees with previously published results obtained by the use of shape fluctuation analysis of giant unilamellar vesicles. The obtained estimate of the area expansion modulus, is automatically corrected for contributions from residual thermal undulations and the equilibrium area of the vesicle is resolved.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryThe Technical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark