Tissue surface tension measurement by rigorous axisymmetric drop shape analysis

Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2009 Sep 1;72(2):236-40. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2009.04.009. Epub 2009 Apr 15.


Certain behaviours of embryonic cell aggregates can be modelled by ascribing to them a tissue surface tension, with each cell analogous to a liquid molecule. Under normal gravity, aggregates are nearly spherical, but they can be partially flattened in a centrifuge. This allows measurement of their tissue surface tensions by a drop shape method such as axisymmetric drop shape analysis (ADSA). We study ectodermal embryonic cells from the frog Xenopus laevis subjected to centrifugation at 100 x g and 200 x g. We show that ADSA can be applied to irregular aggregate profiles and compare results with those from a previous, simpler version called ADSA-IP. With a modification in the experimental method, the two algorithms give similar results and the aggregate profiles more closely follow Laplacian curves. The ADSA fitting error allows an estimate of the relative uncertainty in the results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Cell Aggregation / physiology*
  • Centrifugation
  • Surface Tension*
  • Xenopus laevis