Elasticity of human embryonic stem cells as determined by atomic force microscopy

Robert Kiss, Henry Bock, Steve Pells, Elisabetta Canetta, Ashok K. Adya, Andrew J. Moore, Paul De Sousa, Nicholas A. Willoughby

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The expansive growth and differentiation potential of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) make them a promising source of cells for regenerative medicine. However, this promise is off set by the propensity for spontaneous or uncontrolled differentiation to result in heterogeneous cell populations. Cell elasticity has recently been shown to characterize particular cell phenotypes, with undifferentiated and differentiated cells sometimes showing significant differences in their elasticities. In this study, we determined the Young's modulus of hESCs by atomic force microscopy using a pyramidal tip. Using this method we are able to take point measurements of elasticity at multiple locations on a single cell, allowing local variations due to cell structure to be identified. We found considerable differences in the elasticity of the analyzed hESCs, reflected by a broad range of Young's modulus (0.05-10 kPa). This surprisingly high variation suggests that elasticity could serve as the basis of a simple and efficient large scale purification/separation technique to discriminate subpopulations of hESCs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101009
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
    Volume133
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011

    Keywords

    • Biomechanics
    • Cellular biophysics
    • Elasticity
    • Young's modulus
    • Atomic force microscopy
    • Tissue engineering

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