MEMS measurements of single cell stiffness decay due to cyclic mechanical loading.


The goal of this study was to measure the mechanical stiffness of individual cells and to observe changes due to the application of repeated cell mechanical loads. 28 single baker's yeast cells (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) were fatigue tested and had their stiffness measured during repetitive loading cycles performed by a MEMS squeezer in aqueous media. Electrothermal micro-actuators compressed individual cells against a reference back spring; cell and spring motions were measured using a FFT image analysis technique with ~10 nm resolution. Cell stiffness was calculated based on measurements of cell elongation vs. applied force which resulted in stiffness values in the 2-10 N/m range. The effect of increased force was studied for cells mechanically cycled 37 times. Cell stiffness decreased as the force and the cycle number increased. After 37 loading cycles (~4 min), forces of 0.24, 0.29, 0.31, and 0.33 μN caused stiffness drops of 5%, 13%, 31% and 41% respectively. Cells force was then set to 0.29 μN and cells were tested over longer runs of 118 and 268 cycles. After 118 cycles (~12 min) cells experienced an average stiffness drop of 68%. After 268 cycles (~25 min) cells had a stiffness drop of 77%, and appeared to reach a stiffness plateau of 20-25% of the initial stiffness after approximately 200 cycles.

DOI: 10.1007/s10544-017-0219-7

Cite this paper

@article{Barazani2017MEMSMO, title={MEMS measurements of single cell stiffness decay due to cyclic mechanical loading.}, author={Bruno Barazani and Stephan Warnat and Andrew J MacIntosh and Ted Hubbard}, journal={Biomedical microdevices}, year={2017}, volume={19 4}, pages={77} }