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Research Papers

Investigating the Mechanical Properties of Biological Brain Cells With Atomic Force Microscopy

[+] Author and Article Information
Tariq Mohana Bahwini

School of Engineering,
RMIT University,
Melbourne 3083, Australia
e-mail: tamb20@gmail.com

Yongmin Zhong

School of Engineering,
RMIT University,
Melbourne 3083, Australia
e-mail: yongmin.zhong@rmit.edu.au

Chengfan Gu

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Melbourne,
Parkville 3010, Australia
e-mail: chengfan.gu@gmail.com

Zeyad Nasa

Micro Nano Research Facility,
College of Science, Engineering and Health,
RMIT,
Melbourne 3000, Australia
e-mail: zeyad.nasa@rmit.edu.au

Denny Oetomo

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Melbourne,
Parkville 3010, Australia
e-mail: doetomo@unimelb.edu.au

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received February 28, 2018; final manuscript received July 20, 2018; published online October 8, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Yaling Liu.

J. Med. Devices 12(4), 041007 (Oct 08, 2018) (12 pages) Paper No: MED-18-1044; doi: 10.1115/1.4040995 History: Received February 28, 2018; Revised July 20, 2018

Characterization of cell mechanical properties plays an important role in disease diagnoses and treatments. This paper uses advanced atomic force microscopy (AFM) to measure the geometrical and mechanical properties of two different human brain normal HNC-2 and cancer U87 MG cells. Based on experimental measurement, it measures the cell deformation and indentation force to characterize cell mechanical properties. A fitting algorithm is developed to generate the force-loading curves from experimental data. An inverse Hertzian method is also established to identify Young's moduli for HNC-2 and U87 MG cells. The results demonstrate that Young's modulus of cancer cells is different from that of normal cells, which can help us to differentiate normal and cancer cells from the biomechanical viewpoint.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Photomicrograph of (a) HNC-2 cells and (b) U87 MG cells

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Fig. 2

Atomic force microscopy system indentation (imagepro software from Asylum): (a) AFM scan head, (b) sharp cantilever tip, (c) cantilever tip in U87 MG cell media, (d) vibration isolation for AFM, and (e) AFM laser controller

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Fig. 3

Atomic force microscopy schematic scan for the interaction between the cantilever and a cell is used to separate the multiple sentences

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Fig. 4

Measured v-shaped cantilever tip using scanning probe microscopy: (a) 40.2 deg and (b) 68.9 deg tip angles

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Fig. 5

Thermal graph measurement of the tip cantilever (k = 0.03459 N/m): (a) the contact slope fitting from a force curve determines the sensitivity of the cantilever (deflection volt = 65.07 nm/v); (b) fitting the spring constant calibration using the thermal tune; and (c) the zoomed-in view of the resonant frequency plot (F = 12.817 kHz) in the fitting area

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Fig. 6

Force mapping of HNC-2 cell (1): (a) 5 selected random loading force curves; (b1) two-dimensional (2D) force map of cell height; (b2) three-dimensional (3D) cell height; (c) two-dimensional Young's modulus; and (d) histogram of fitting Young's modulus

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Fig. 7

Force mapping of HNC-2 cell (2): (a) 5 selected random loading force curves; (b1) two-dimensional force map of cell height; (b2) three-dimensional cell height; (c) two-dimensional Young's modulus; and (d) histogram of fitting Young's modulus

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Fig. 8

Force mapping of HNC-2 cell (3): (a) 5 selected random loading force curves; (b1) two-dimensional force map of cell height; (b2) three-dimensional cell height; (c) two-dimensional Young's modulus; and (d) histogram of fitting Young's modulus

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Fig. 9

Force mapping of U87 MG cell (1): (a) 5 selected random loading force curves; (b1) two-dimensional force map of cell height; (b2) three-dimensional cell height; (c) two-dimensional Young's modulus; and (d) histogram of fitting Young's modulus

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Fig. 10

Force mapping of U87 MG cell (2): (a) 5 selected random loading force curves; (b1) two-dimensional force map of cell height; (b2) three-dimensional cell height; (c) two-dimensional Young's modulus; and (d) histogram of fitting Young's modulus

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Fig. 11

Force mapping of U87 MG cell (3): (a) 5 selected random loading force curves; (b1) two-dimensional force map of cell height; (b2) three-dimensional cell height; (c) two-dimensional Young's modulus; and (d) histogram of fitting Young's modulus

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Fig. 12

The average values and associated standard deviations of Young's modulus by experiment measurement for normal (HNC-2) and cancer (U87 MG) cells

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Fig. 13

Comparison between experimental measurement and analytical estimation of force-indentation curves for three HNC-2 cells: (a) experimental force-indentation curves with the contact points (circles); (b) estimated force-indentation curves showing a good agreement with experimental curves for the initial deformation of 300 nm (the circle dots indicate the experimental data, and the curves indicate the calculated data)

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Fig. 14

Comparison between experimental measurement and analytical estimation of force-indentation curves for three U87 MG cells: (a) experimental force-indentation curves with the contact points (circles) and (b) estimated force-indentation curves showing a good agreement with experimental curves for the initial deformation of 300 nm (the circle dots indicate the experimental data, and the curves indicate the calculated data)

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