- Hochmuth, R.M., Micropipette aspiration of living cells,
J. Biomech. (UK), vol. 33 no. 1
pp. 15 - 22 [S0021-9290(99)00175-X] .
(last updated on 2007/04/10)
The mechanical behavior of living cells is studied with micropipette suction in which the surface of a cell is aspirated into a small glass tube while tracking the leading edge of its surface. Such edges can be tracked in a light microscope to an accuracy of ±25 nm and suction pressures as small as 0.1-0.2 pN/um2 can be imposed on the cell. Both soft cells, such as neutrophils and red cells: and more rigid cells, such as chondrocytes and endothelial cells, are studied with this technique. Interpretation of the measurements with basic continuum models leads to values for a cell's elastic and viscous properties. In particular, neutrophils are found to behave as a liquid drop with a cortical (surface) tension of about 30 pN/μm and a viscosity on the order of 100 Pa s. On the other hand, chondrocytes and endothelial cells behave as solids with an elastic modulus of the order of 500 pN/μm2 (0.5 kPa)
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