The biomechanical properties of living cells depend on their molecular building blocks, and are important for maintaining structure and function in cells, the extracellular matrix, and tissues. These biomechanical properties and forces also shape and modify the cellular and extracellular structures under stress. While many studies have investigated the biomechanics of single cells or small populations of cells in culture, or the properties of organs and tissues, few studies have investigated the biomechanics of complex cell populations in vivo. With the use of advanced multiphoton microscopy to visualize in vivo cell populations in human skin, the biomechanical properties are investigated in a depth-dependent manner in the stratum corneum and epidermis using quasi-static mechanical deformations. A 2D elastic registration algorithm was used to analyze the images before and after deformation to determine displacements in different skin layers. In this feasibility study, the images and results from one human subject demonstrate the potential of the technique for revealing differences in elastic properties between the stratum corneum and the rest of the epidermis. This interrogational imaging methodology has the potential to enable a wide range of investigations for understanding how the biomechanical properties of in vivo cell populations influence function in health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-238
Number of pages8
JournalCellular and Molecular Bioengineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Cell and tissue biomechanics
  • Human skin
  • Imaging
  • In vivo
  • Multiphoton microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation


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