Physical biology

Topographical and mechanical characterization of living eukaryotic cells on opaque substrates: development of a general procedure and its application to the study of non-adherent lymphocytes.

PMID 25787320


The mechanical behavior of living murine T-lymphocytes was assessed by atomic force microscopy (AFM). A robust experimental procedure was developed to overcome some features of lymphocytes, in particular their spherical shape and non-adherent character. The procedure included the immobilization of the lymphocytes on amine-functionalized substrates, the use of hydrodynamic effects on the deflection of the AFM cantilever to monitor the approaching, and the use of the jumping mode for obtaining the images. Indentation curves were analyzed according to Hertz's model for contact mechanics. The calculated values of the elastic modulus are consistent both when considering the results obtained from a single lymphocyte and when comparing the curves recorded from cells of different specimens.