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research-article

Single-cell strain energy density function measured by cellular micro-biaxial stretching

[+] Author and Article Information
Zaw Win

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 312 Church St SE NHH 7-105, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA
winxx005@umn.edu

Justin M Buksa

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 312 Church St SE NHH 7-105, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA
buksa002@umn.edu

Kerianne E Steucke

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 312 Church St SE NHH 7-105, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA
steu0057@umn.edu

G.W. Gant Luxton

Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 420 Washington Ave SE MCB 4-128, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455 USA
gwgl@umn.edu

Victor H Barocas

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 312 Church St SE NHH 7-105, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA
baroc001@umn.edu

Patrick W Alford

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 312 Church St SE NHH 7-105, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA
pwalford@umn.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4036440 History: Received November 09, 2016; Revised March 29, 2017

Abstract

The stress in a cell due to extracellular mechanical stimulus is determined by its mechanical properties, and the structural organization of many adherent cells suggests that their properties are anisotropic. This anisotropy may significantly influence the cells' mechanotransductive response to complex loads, and has important implications for development of accurate models of tissue biomechanics. Standard methods for measuring cellular mechanics report linear moduli that cannot capture large-deformation anisotropic properties, which in a continuum mechanics framework are best described by a strain energy density function (SED). In tissues, the SED is most robustly measured using biaxial testing. Here, we describe a cellular micro-biaxial stretching (CµBS) method that modifies this tissue-scale approach to measure the anisotropic elastic behavior of individual vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) with native-like cytoarchitecture. Using CµBS, we reveal that VSMCs are highly anisotropic under large deformations. We then characterize a Holzapfel-Gasser-Ogden type SED for individual VSMCs and find that architecture-dependent properties of the cells can be robustly described using a formulation solely based on the organization of their actin cytoskeleton. These results suggest that cellular anisotropy should be considered when developing biomechanical models, and could play an important role in cellular mechano-adaptation.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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