Atomic force microscopy probing of cell elasticity

Micron. 2007;38(8):824-33. doi: 10.1016/j.micron.2007.06.011. Epub 2007 Jul 3.


Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has recently provided the great progress in the study of micro- and nanostructures including living cells and cell organelles. Modern AFM techniques allow solving a number of problems of cell biomechanics due to simultaneous evaluation of the local mechanical properties and the topography of the living cells at a high spatial resolution and force sensitivity. Particularly, force spectroscopy is used for mapping mechanical properties of a single cell that provides information on cellular structures including cytoskeleton structure. This entry is aimed to review the recent AFM applications for the study of dynamics and mechanical properties of intact cells associated with different cell events such as locomotion, differentiation and aging, physiological activation and electromotility, as well as cell pathology. Local mechanical characteristics of different cell types including muscle cells, endothelial and epithelial cells, neurons and glial cells, fibroblasts and osteoblasts, blood cells and sensory cells are analyzed in this paper.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Physiological Phenomena*
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Elasticity
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force / methods*
  • Platelet Activation