Micro-mechanical characterization of lung tissue using atomic force microscopy.

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Abstract

Matrix stiffness strongly influences growth, differentiation and function of adherent cells. On the macro scale the stiffness of tissues and organs within the human body span several orders of magnitude. Much less is known about how stiffness varies spatially within tissues, and what the scope and spatial scale of stiffness changes are in disease processes that result in tissue remodeling. To better understand how changes in matrix stiffness contribute to cellular physiology in health and disease, measurements of tissue stiffness obtained at a spatial scale relevant to resident cells are needed. This is particularly true for the lung, a highly compliant and elastic tissue in which matrix remodeling is a prominent feature in diseases such as asthma, emphysema, hypertension and fibrosis. To characterize the local mechanical environment of lung parenchyma at a spatial scale relevant to resident cells, we have developed methods to directly measure the local elastic properties of fresh murine lung tissue using atomic force microscopy (AFM) microindentation. With appropriate choice of AFM indentor, cantilever, and indentation depth, these methods allow measurements of local tissue shear modulus in parallel with phase contrast and fluorescence imaging of the region of interest. Systematic sampling of tissue strips provides maps of tissue mechanical properties that reveal local spatial variations in shear modulus. Correlations between mechanical properties and underlying anatomical and pathological features illustrate how stiffness varies with matrix deposition in fibrosis. These methods can be extended to other soft tissues and disease processes to reveal how local tissue mechanical properties vary across space and disease progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number54
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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Atomic Force Microscopy
Atomic force microscopy
Tissue
Lung
Stiffness
Stiffness matrix
Mechanical properties
Fibrosis
Elastic moduli
Elastic Tissue
Optical Imaging
Emphysema
Physiology
Human Body
Indentation
Disease Progression
Macros
Asthma
Fluorescence
Hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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title = "Micro-mechanical characterization of lung tissue using atomic force microscopy.",
abstract = "Matrix stiffness strongly influences growth, differentiation and function of adherent cells. On the macro scale the stiffness of tissues and organs within the human body span several orders of magnitude. Much less is known about how stiffness varies spatially within tissues, and what the scope and spatial scale of stiffness changes are in disease processes that result in tissue remodeling. To better understand how changes in matrix stiffness contribute to cellular physiology in health and disease, measurements of tissue stiffness obtained at a spatial scale relevant to resident cells are needed. This is particularly true for the lung, a highly compliant and elastic tissue in which matrix remodeling is a prominent feature in diseases such as asthma, emphysema, hypertension and fibrosis. To characterize the local mechanical environment of lung parenchyma at a spatial scale relevant to resident cells, we have developed methods to directly measure the local elastic properties of fresh murine lung tissue using atomic force microscopy (AFM) microindentation. With appropriate choice of AFM indentor, cantilever, and indentation depth, these methods allow measurements of local tissue shear modulus in parallel with phase contrast and fluorescence imaging of the region of interest. Systematic sampling of tissue strips provides maps of tissue mechanical properties that reveal local spatial variations in shear modulus. Correlations between mechanical properties and underlying anatomical and pathological features illustrate how stiffness varies with matrix deposition in fibrosis. These methods can be extended to other soft tissues and disease processes to reveal how local tissue mechanical properties vary across space and disease progression.",
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