Reversible and repeatable linear local cell force response under large stretches

Shengyuan Yang, Taher Saif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Large stretching and un-stretching force response of adherent fibroblasts is measured by micromachined mechanical force sensors. The force sensors are composed of a probe and flexible beams. The probe, functionalized by fibronectin, is used to contact the cells. The flexible beams are the sensing element. The sensors are made of single crystal silicon and fabricated by the SCREAM process. The maximum cell stretch reached is ∼50 μm, which is about twice of the cell initial size, and the time delay between two consecutive stretching/un-stretching steps is 75 s unless otherwise stated. We find that the force response of the cells is strongly linear, reversible, and repeatable, with a small stiffening at the initial deformation stage. Force response of single cells measured before and after cytochalasin D treatment suggests that actin filaments take almost all the cell internal forces due to stretch. These findings may shed light on the increasing understanding on the mechanical behavior of cells and provide clues for making new classes of biological materials having uncommon properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-50
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 15 2005


  • Actin filaments
  • Cell mechanics
  • Force response
  • Large deformation
  • Linear
  • Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)
  • Reversible and repeatable
  • Single living cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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