Viscoelastic properties of single attached cells under compression

E.A.G. Peeters, C.W.J. Oomens, C.V.C. Bouten, D.L. Bader, F.P.T. Baaijens

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The viscoelastic properties of single, attached C2C12 myoblasts were measured using a recently developed cell loading device. The device allows global compression of an attached cell, while simultaneously measuring the associated forces. The viscoelastic properties were examined by performing a series of dynamic experiments over two frequency decades s0.1–10 Hzd and at a range of axial strains s,10–40%d. Confocal laser scanning microscopy was used to visualize the cell during these experiments. To analyze the experimentally obtained force-deformation curves, a nonlinear viscoelastic model was developed. The nonlinear viscoelastic model was able to describe the complete series of dynamic experiments using only a single set of parameters, yielding an elastic modulus of 21206900 Pa for the elastic spring, an elastic modulus of 196061350 for the nonlinear spring, and a relaxation time constant of 0.360.12 s. To our knowledge, it is the first time that the global viscoelastic properties of attached cells have been quantified over such a wide range of strains. Furthermore, the experiments were performed under optimal environmental conditions and the results are, therefore, believed to reflect the viscoelastic mechanical behavior of cells, such as would be present in vivo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-243
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering : Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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