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Three-dimensional traction force microscopy for studying cellular interactions with biomaterials

Notbohm, J. and Kim, J.-H. and Franck, C. and Maskarinec, S. and Tirrell, D. and Asthagiri, A. and Ravichandran, G. (2011) Three-dimensional traction force microscopy for studying cellular interactions with biomaterials. Procedia IUTAM, 4 . pp. 144-150. ISSN 2210-9838.

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The interactions between biochemical and mechanical signals during cell adhesion, migration, spreading and other processes influence cellular behavior. Three-dimensional measurement techniques are needed to investigate the effect of mechanical properties of the substrate on cellular behavior. This paper discusses a three-dimensional full-field measurement technique that has been developed for measuring large deformations in soft materials. The technique utilizes a digital volume correlation (DVC) algorithm to track motions of sub-volumes within 3-D images obtained using laser scanning confocal microscopy. The technique is well-suited for investigating 3-D mechanical interactions between cells and the extracellular matrix and for obtaining local constitutive properties of soft biomaterials. Results from the migration of single fibroblast cells on polyacrylamide gels and their implications for cell motility models are discussed. The implications that the traction distributions of epithelial cell clusters have on the inhibition of proliferation due to cell contact and scattering of cells in a cluster are discussed. These results provide insights on force fields generated by cells and the role of the mechanical properties of the substrate on cellular interactions and mechanotransduction. Analytical solutions and finite element simulations are used to elucidate the mechanics of cellular forces exerted on the extracellular matrix.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Tirrell, D.0000-0003-3175-4596
Ravichandran, G.0000-0002-2912-0001
Additional Information:© 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This work was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation through the Center for the Science and Engineering of Materials at the California Institute of Technology. J.N. was supported by the Department of Defense (DoD) through the National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG) Program.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Center for the Science and Engineering of Materials at the California Institute of TechnologyUNSPECIFIED
Department of Defense (DOD)UNSPECIFIED
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG) ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Traction force microscopy; confocal microscopy; digital volume correlation
Series Name:Proceidia IUTAM
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130315-092735718
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Official Citation:J. Notbohm, J.-H. Kim, C. Franck, S. Maskarinec, D. Tirrell, A. Asthagiri, G. Ravichandran, Three-dimensional Traction Force Microscopy for Studying Cellular Interactions with Biomaterials, Procedia IUTAM, Volume 4, 2012, Pages 144-150, ISSN 2210-9838, 10.1016/j.piutam.2012.05.016. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:37528
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:18 Mar 2013 20:56
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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