Viscoelastic behaviour of human mesenchymal stem cells

BMC Cell Biol. 2008 Jul 22;9:40. doi: 10.1186/1471-2121-9-40.


Background: In this study, we have investigated the viscoelastic behaviour of individual human adult bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and the role of F-actin filaments in maintaining these properties, using micropipette aspiration technique together with a standard linear viscoelastic solid model.

Results: Under a room temperature of 20 degrees C, the instantaneous and equilibrium Young's modulus, E0 and Einfinity, were found to be 886 +/- 289 Pa and 372 +/- 125 Pa, respectively, while the apparent viscosity, mu, was 2710 +/- 1630 Pa.s. hMSCs treated with cytochalasin D up to 20 microM at 20 degrees C registered significant drop of up to 84% in stiffness and increase of up to 255% in viscosity. At the physiological temperature of 37 degrees C, E0 and Einfinity have decreased by 42-66% whereas mu has increased by 95%, compared to the control. Majority of the hMSCs behave as viscoelastic solid with a rapid initial increase in aspiration length and it gradually levels out with time. Three other types of non-typical viscoelastic behavior of hMSCs were also seen.

Conclusion: hMSCs behave as viscoelastic solid. Its viscoelstic behaviour are dependent on the structural integrity of the F-actin filaments and temperature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / chemistry
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Bone Marrow Cells / chemistry*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cytochalasin D / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / chemistry
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Elasticity
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / chemistry*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Temperature
  • Viscosity


  • Actins
  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Cytochalasin D