Local mechanical properties measured by atomic force microscopy for cultured bovine endothelial cells exposed to shear stress

M. Sato, K. Nagayama, N. Kataoka, M. Sasaki, K. Hane

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206 Citations (Scopus)


Morphology and mechanical properties of cultured endothelial cells were measured, using a novel atomic force microscope (AFM) system, developed in our laboratory, in conjunction with an inverted confocal laser scanning microscope. We used this system to examine endothelial cell both in static cultures and exposed to a shear stress of 2Pa. Initially, the three-dimensional topography of a cell was measured by the AFM and a location was selected for the subsequent measurement of the mechanical response of the cell. The surface of statically cultured cell was smooth. The cell height was not altered by the exposed duration of shear stress. A relationship between external force, F, and the indentation depth, δ, was obtained for several different locations on a cell. This force-indentation response was modelled using a quadratic equation, F=aδ2+bδ, indicating that two parameters, a and b, will be constants which are representative of the mechanical response. Endothelial cells cultured at static conditions demonstrated a polygonal shape and less stiff mechanical characteristics around the nucleus compared to those at peripheral regions. The stiffness of the endothelial cells exposed to shear stress increased with the duration time of exposure. At 6-h exposures, the stiffness was higher at upstream side of the cell than the downstream side. However, after 24-h exposure, the stiffness was similar on both sides of the cell. These changes in the stiffness of endothelial cells when exposed to shear stress were suggested to correspond with the distribution of stress fibers in the cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Jan


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Endothelial cell
  • Indentation
  • Mechanical property
  • Shear stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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