Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 76 (4), 2307-16

Stresses at the Cell-To-Substrate Interface During Locomotion of Fibroblasts


Stresses at the Cell-To-Substrate Interface During Locomotion of Fibroblasts

M Dembo et al. Biophys J.


Recent technological improvements in the elastic substrate method make it possible to produce spatially resolved measurements of the tractions exerted by single motile cells. In this study we have applied these developments to produce maps of the tractions exerted by 3T3 fibroblasts during steady locomotion. The resulting images have a spatial resolution of approximately 5 micrometers and a maximum intensity of approximately 10(2) kdyn/cm2 (10(4) pN/micrometers2). We find that the propulsive thrust for fibroblast locomotion, approximately 0.2 dyn, is imparted to the substratum within 15 micrometers of the leading edge. These observations demonstrate that the lamellipodium of the fibroblast is able to generate intense traction stress. The cell body and posterior seem to be mechanically passive structures pulled forward entirely by this action.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 410 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Exp Cell Res. 1970 Mar;59(3):393-8 - PubMed
    1. Methods Enzymol. 1998;298:497-521 - PubMed
    1. Nature. 1978 Jun 1;273(5661):345-9 - PubMed
    1. Science. 1980 Apr 11;208(4440):177-9 - PubMed
    1. J Cell Biol. 1981 Jul;90(1):187-200 - PubMed

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources