Nonlinear indentation of single human erythrocytes under application of a localized mechanical force

Year: 2019

Authors: Tognoni E., Orsini P., Pellegrino M.

Autors Affiliation: Istituto Nazionale di Ottica, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (INO-CNR), Via Moruzzi 1, Pisa, 56124, Italy; Dipartimento di Ricerca Traslazionale e delle Nuove Tecnologie in Medicina e Chirurgia, Universita di Pisa, via S. Zeno 31, Pisa, 56127, Italy

Abstract: Despite the accepted notion that erythrocytes are uniquely deformable cells, the apparent Young’s modulus values reported in the literature do not differ so much from those of other cells. We devised to measure the local deformability of living immobilized human erythrocytes at a low force, in contact-free mode, using an application of Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM) previously developed in our laboratory. Reversible indentations were induced by forces of up to few hundreds pN. The indentation did not grow linearly with the force. The apparent Young’s modulus varied from 0.2 to 1.5 kPa
applying forces from 20 to 500 pN on a cell surface area of about 0.2 μm2, exhibiting a progressive stiffening at increasing force. Control measurements showed that A549 cells exhibit a constant value of the apparent Young’s modulus (about 2 kPa) for forces up to about 800 pN. These findings show that SICM is a suitable tool to investigate cell mechanical properties, when forces in the range of tens of pN are required, in the absence of mechanical contact between probe and sample. The nonlinear deformation of the erythrocyte has to be taken into account in modeling the complex regulation mechanism of
the microvascular beds.

Journal/Review: MICRON

Volume: 127      Pages from: 102760-1  to: 102760-6

KeyWords: human erythrocyte, scanning ion conductance microscopy, Young’s modulus, strain stiffening
DOI: 10.1016/j.micron.2019.102760

Citations: 6
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