Regional Biomechanical Imaging of Liver Cancer Cells
30 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2018
Date Written: October 30, 2018
Liver cancer is one of the leading cancers, especially in developing countries. Understanding the biomechanical properties of the liver cancer cells can not only help to elucidate the mechanisms behind the cancer progression, but also provide important information for diagnosis and treatment. At the cellular level, we used well-established atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques to characterize the heterogeneity of mechanical properties of two different types of human liver cancer cells and a normal liver cell. Stiffness maps with a resolution of 128x128 were acquired for each cell. The distributions of the indentation moduli of the cells showed significant differences between cancerous cells and healthy controls. Significantly, the variability was even greater amongst different types of cancerous cells. Fitting of the histogram of the effective moduli using a normal distribution function showed the Bel7402 cells were stiffer than the normal cells while HepG2 cells were softer. Morphological analysis of the cell structures also showed a higher cytoskeleton content among the cancerous cells. Results provided a foundation for applying knowledge of cell stiffness heterogeneity to search for tissue-level, early-stage indicators of liver cancer.
Keywords: biomechanics, AFM, indentation, liver cancer, cell stiffness
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