Research Papers

Determination of Strain-Rate-Dependent Mechanical Behavior of Living and Fixed Osteocytes and Chondrocytes Using Atomic Force Microscopy and Inverse Finite Element Analysis

[+] Author and Article Information
Trung Dung Nguyen

School of Chemistry, Physics and
Mechanical Engineering,
Science and Engineering Faculty,
Queensland University of Technology,
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

YuanTong Gu

School of Chemistry, Physics and
Mechanical Engineering,
Science and Engineering Faculty,
Queensland University of Technology,
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
e-mail: yuantong.gu@qut.edu.au

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received October 14, 2013; final manuscript received July 25, 2014; accepted manuscript posted July 30, 2014; published online August 6, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Carlijn V. C. Bouten.

J Biomech Eng 136(10), 101004 (Aug 06, 2014) (8 pages) Paper No: BIO-13-1485; doi: 10.1115/1.4028098 History: Received October 14, 2013; Revised July 25, 2014; Accepted July 30, 2014

The aim of this paper is to determine the strain-rate-dependent mechanical behavior of living and fixed osteocytes and chondrocytes, in vitro. First, atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to obtain the force–indentation curves of these single cells at four different strain-rates. These results were then employed in inverse finite element analysis (FEA) using modified standard neo-Hookean solid (MSnHS) idealization of these cells to determine their mechanical properties. In addition, a FEA model with a newly developed spring element was employed to accurately simulate AFM evaluation in this study. We report that both cytoskeleton (CSK) and intracellular fluid govern the strain-rate-dependent mechanical property of living cells whereas intracellular fluid plays a predominant role on fixed cells' behavior. In addition, through the comparisons, it can be concluded that osteocytes are stiffer than chondrocytes at all strain-rates tested indicating that the cells could be the biomarker of their tissue origin. Finally, we report that MSnHS is able to capture the strain-rate-dependent mechanical behavior of osteocyte and chondrocyte for both living and fixed cells. Therefore, we concluded that the MSnHS is a good model for exploration of mechanical deformation responses of single osteocytes and chondrocytes. This study could open a new avenue for analysis of mechanical behavior of osteocytes and chondrocytes as well as other similar types of cells.

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Fig. 1

SEM image of colloidal probe cantilever used in this study

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Fig. 2

Diameter (top) and height (bottom) distributions of osteocytes (left) and chondrocytes

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Fig. 3

FEM models of a single osteocyte (left) and a single chondrocyte (right)

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Fig. 4

AFM force–indentation curves at four different strain-rates for (a) living and fixed osteocytes and (b) living and fixed chondrocytes (experimental data are shown as mean values)

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Fig. 5

Force–indentation curves of AFM and MSnHS model of (a) living osteocytes; (b) fixed osteocytes; (c) living chondrocytes; and (d) fixed chondrocytes (AFM experimental data are shown as mean ± standard deviation)



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