Technique for rapid in vitro single-cell elastography

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2006 Nov;32(11):1687-702. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2006.06.002.


Statistically meaningful assays require scanning a large number of cells in a short time. Here we present a technique for rapid in vitro single-cell elastography. The technique is based on atomic force acoustic microscopy but (1) requires only a few minutes of scan time, (2) can be used on live cells briefly removed from most of the nutrient fluid, (3) does negligible harm or damage to the cell, (4) provides semiquantitative information on the distribution of modulus across the cell and (5) yields data with 1- to 10-nm resolution. We describe the new technique in detail, apply it to baby hamster kidney cells, verify the results and calibrate the images with atomic force microscope force-distance measurements. The technique enables rapid assessment of physical/biochemical signals on the cell modulus and contributes to current understanding of cell mechanics.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival
  • Cricetinae
  • Elasticity
  • Electronics, Medical / instrumentation
  • Kidney / physiology
  • Kidney / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force / instrumentation
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force / methods*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Nanotechnology / methods
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Ultrasonography / instrumentation
  • Ultrasonography / methods*