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Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 563–572 | Cite as

Power-law rheology analysis of cells undergoing micropipette aspiration

  • E. H. Zhou
  • S. T. Quek
  • C. T. Lim
Original Paper

Abstract

Accurate quantification of the mechanical properties of living cells requires the combined use of experimental techniques and theoretical models. In this paper, we investigate the viscoelastic response of suspended NIH 3T3 fibroblasts undergoing micropipette aspiration using power-law rheology model. As an important first step, we examine the pipette size effect on cell deformation and find that pipettes larger than ~7 μm are more suitable for bulk rheological measurements than smaller ones and the cell can be treated as effectively continuum. When the large pipettes are used to apply a constant pressure to a cell, the creep deformation is better fitted with the power-law rheology model than with the liquid drop or spring-dashpot models; magnetic twisting cytometry measurement on the rounded cell confirms the power-law behavior. This finding is further extended to suspended cells treated with drugs targeting their cytoskeleton. As such, our results suggest that the application of relatively large pipettes can provide more effective assessment of the bulk material properties as well as support application of power-law rheology to cells in suspension.

Keywords

Cell mechanics Cytoskeleton Deformability Soft glassy rheology Viscoelasticity Optical magnetic twisting cytometry 

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Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nano Biomechanics Laboratory, Division of Bioengineering and Department of Mechanical EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Department of Environmental HealthHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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