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J Biomech. 2001 Dec;34(12):1545-53.

Endothelial, cardiac muscle and skeletal muscle exhibit different viscous and elastic properties as determined by atomic force microscopy.

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Center for Cellular and Biosurface Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Box 90281, 136 Hudson Hall, Durham, NC 27708-0281, USA.
Duke U, Durham, NC


This study evaluated the hypothesis that, due to functional and structural differences, the apparent elastic modulus and viscous behavior of cardiac and skeletal muscle and vascular endothelium would differ. To accurately determine the elastic modulus, the contribution of probe velocity, indentation depth, and the assumed shape of the probe were examined. Hysteresis was observed at high indentation velocities arising from viscous effects. Irreversible deformation was not observed for endothelial cells and hysteresis was negligible below 1 microm/s. For skeletal muscle and cardiac muscle cells, hysteresis was negligible below 0.25 microm/s. Viscous dissipation for endothelial and cardiac muscle cells was higher than for skeletal muscle cells. The calculated elastic modulus was most sensitive to the assumed probe geometry for the first 60 nm of indentation for the three cell types. Modeling the probe as a blunt cone-spherical cap resulted in variation in elastic modulus with indentation depth that was less than that calculated by treating the probe as a conical tip. Substrate contributions were negligible since the elastic modulus reached a steady value for indentations above 60 nm and the probe never indented more than 10% of the cell thickness. Cardiac cells were the stiffest (100.3+/-10.7 kPa), the skeletal muscle cells were intermediate (24.7+/-3.5 kPa), and the endothelial cells were the softest with a range of elastic moduli (1.4+/-0.1 to 6.8+/-0.4 kPa) depending on the location of the cell surface tested. Cardiac and skeletal muscle exhibited nonlinear elastic behavior. These passive mechanical properties are generally consistent with the function of these different cell types.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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