Vol. 2, No. 6, 2007

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ISSN: 1559-3959
Assessment of the mechanical properties of the nucleus inside a spherical endothelial cell based on microtensile testing

Shinji Deguchi, Masayuki Yano, Ken Hashimoto, Hiroyuki Fukamachi, Seiichi Washio and Katsuhiko Tsujioka

Vol. 2 (2007), No. 6, 1087–1102
Abstract

The effect of extracellular forces on the nucleus deformation is an important research issue for better understanding of the intracellular force transmission mechanism. Approaches to this issue employing a microtensile test of single cells are helpful because the test enables one to give a well-controlled load onto the specimen with wide force and strain ranges. In the present study, tensile tests of single cells having a spherical shape are conducted by using a microtensile test system with a feedback control of displacement rate. Deformations of the nucleus inside the cell during the cell stretch and subsequent creep recovery after unloading are then quantified based on an image analysis. In order to characterize the creep recovery behaviors of the cell and its nucleus, one-dimensional analytical viscoelastic models and a power-law function are fitted to the creep recovery data. In addition, systematic finite element analyses are performed to estimate the intracellular stress distribution and elastic modulus of the cell and nucleus assumed to be continuum materials. These results indicate that the mechanical behaviors of the nucleus within a cell under stretching and unloading are similar to those under compression loadings previously reported.

Keywords
cell biomechanics, microtensile test, mechanical properties, viscoelastic properties, nucleus, finite element method
Milestones
Received: 15 September 2006
Accepted: 27 February 2007
Published: 1 August 2007
Authors
Shinji Deguchi
Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology
Okayama University
Tsushima-naka 3-1-1
Okayama 700-8530
Japan
Masayuki Yano
Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology
Okayama University
Tsushima-naka 3-1-1
Okayama 700-8530
Japan
Ken Hashimoto
Department of Physiology
Kawasaki Medical School
577 Matsushima, Kurashiki
Okayama 701-0192
Japan
Hiroyuki Fukamachi
Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology
Okayama University
Tsushima-naka 3-1-1
Okayama 700-8530
Japan
Seiichi Washio
Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology
Okayama University
Tsushima-naka 3-1-1
Okayama 700-8530
Japan
Katsuhiko Tsujioka
Department of Physiology
Kawasaki Medical School
577 Matsushima, Kurashiki
Okayama 701-0192
Japan