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Mechanical properties of living cells under osmotic stress

Steltenkamp, S. ; Rommel, C. ; Wegener, Joachim ; Janshoff, A.


An atomic force microscope equipped with either a spherical indenter (see SEM image) or a conical tip has been utilized to analyze the nanomechanical behavior of living kidney cells under osmotic stress. The Young's modulus of the cells increases with osmolarity of the medium due to immense compaction of the cell. The change of stiffness is highly reversible and depends strongly on the location on the cell surface.

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