Jul 18, 2017

Investigating the effect of cell substrate on cancer cell stiffness by optical tweezers

Journal of Biomechanics
M S YousafzaiD Cojoc


The mechanical properties of cells are influenced by their microenvironment. Here we report cell stiffness alteration by changing the cell substrate stiffness for isolated cells and cells in contact with other cells. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is used to prepare soft substrates with three different stiffness values (173, 88 and 17kPa respectively). Breast cancer cells lines, namely HBL-100, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 with different level of aggressiveness are cultured on these substrates and their local elasticity is investigated by vertical indentation of the cell membrane. Our preliminary results show an unforeseen behavior of the MDA-MB-231 cells. When cultured on glass substrate as isolated cells, they are less stiff than the other two types of cells, in agreement with the general statement that more aggressive and metastatic cells are softer. However, when connected to other cells the stiffness of MDA-MB-231 cells becomes similar to the other two cell lines. Moreover, the stiffness of MDA-MB-231 cells cultured on soft PDMS substrates is significantly higher than the stiffness of the other cell types, demonstrating thus the strong influence of the environmental conditions on the mechanical properties of the cells.

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Mentioned in this Paper

poly(dimethylsiloxane)-polyamide copolymer
Cell Culture Techniques
Muscular Stiffness
Silikon 1000
MCF-7 Cells
Tumor Cells, Malignant
Arterial Stiffness
Cell Type