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, near 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 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.
The software is available on GitHub, the data are available on Dryad.
Viscoelastic properties of suspended cells measured with shear flow deformation cytometryDryad Digital Repository, doi:10.5061/dryad.5hqbzkh8p.
- Elham Mirzahossein
- Mar Eroles
- Mar Eroles
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Alphee Michelot, Institut de Biologie du Développement, France
- Received: March 21, 2022
- Accepted: August 30, 2022
- Accepted Manuscript published: September 2, 2022 (version 1)
© 2022, Gerum et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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