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Viscoelastic properties of suspended cells measured with shear flow deformation cytometry

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Abuhattum Hofemeier,  Shada
Guck Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Goswami,  Ruchi
Guck Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Girardo,  Salvatore
Guck Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Guck,  Jochen
Guck Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;
Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg;

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Citation

Gerum, R., Mirzahossein, E., Eroles, M., Elsterer, J., Mainka, A., Bauer, A., et al. (2022). Viscoelastic properties of suspended cells measured with shear flow deformation cytometry. eLife, 11: e78823. doi:10.7554/eLife.78823.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-4E54-0
Abstract
Numerous cell functions are accompanied by phenotypic changes in viscoelastic properties, and measuring them can help elucidate higher level cellular functions in health and disease. We present a high-throughput, simple and low-cost microfluidic method for quantitatively measuring the elastic (storage) and viscous (loss) modulus of individual cells. Cells are suspended in a high-viscosity fluid and are pumped with high pressure through a 5.8 cm long and 200 µm wide microfluidic channel. The fluid shear stress induces large, ear ellipsoidal cell deformations. In addition, the flow profile in the channel causes the cells to rotate in a tank-treading manner. From the cell deformation and tank treading frequency, we extract the frequency-dependent viscoelastic cell properties based on a theoretical framework developed by R. Roscoe [1] that describes the deformation of a viscoelastic sphere in a viscous fluid under steady laminar flow. We confirm the accuracy of the method using atomic force microscopy-calibrated polyacrylamide beads and cells. Our measurements demonstrate that suspended cells exhibit power-law, soft glassy rheological behavior that is cell-cycle-dependent and mediated by the physical interplay between the actin filament and intermediate filament networks.