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Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2013;2013:5525-8. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2013.6610801.

Distinct patterns of cell motion inside a micro-channel under different osmotic conditions.


The effect of osmotic condition on a living cell inside a micro-channel is firstly studied in this work. By utilizing a high-speed camera, we observed distinct patterns of cell motion under different osmotic conditions, which are established by saline with different concentrations of sodium chloride (NaCl). The cell motions are tracked by a computer, and are presented by the coordinates of location and time (x-t chart). The motions of cells under hypotonic condition (NaCl% < 0.9%) are convex curves on the chart while the ones under isotonic and hypertonic conditions (NaCl% ≥ 0.9%) are concave curves. Since saline is widely used in both medical practices and cell-related researches, our results point out two important facts: 1) Cells are sensitive to the percentage of NaCl. One percent difference in overall concentration makes dramatic changes in cell characteristics, such as cell stiffness. 2) The micro-channel method can clearly tell the difference between hypotonic, isotonic and hypertonic conditions according to the pattern of cell motion. Interpretations of the phenomena from different perspectives are also discussed in this paper.

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