A quantitative approach to study endothelial cilia bending stiffness during blood flow mechanodetection in vivo

Methods Cell Biol. 2015;127:161-73. doi: 10.1016/bs.mcb.2015.01.006. Epub 2015 Mar 7.


Primary cilia are necessary for shear stress sensing in different developing organs such as the kidneys and blood vessels. In endothelial cells (ECs), primary cilia bend in response to blood flow forces and are necessary for flow sensing as well as for the control of angiogenesis. The different parameters guiding cilia bending reflect the forces generated at the surface of the ECs and the mechanical properties of the endothelial cilia. Here, we present an approach allowing the calculation of the bending rigidity of endothelial cilia based on live imaging. The method relies on segmentation and mathematical modeling to extract the critical parameters needed for the calculation.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Blood flow; Cilia biomechanics; Cilia modeling; Elastic beam theory; Live imaging; Mechanical forces; Mechanotransduction; Slender body theory; Zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cilia / physiology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / blood supply*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / physiology*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / physiology
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics


  • Zebrafish Proteins