Cell traction forces (CTFs) are important to many biological processes such as tissue homeostasis, cell migration and tumor metastasis. Cell traction force microscopy (CTFM) is a well-established method to analyze CTF by measuring the CTF-induced deformation of elastic hydrogels. The measurement is accomplished by imaging the bead configuration with and without CTFs and tracing the displacements of fluorescent beads. Current CTFM requires cells to be removed from the substrate, which prohibits real-time monitoring of CTFs during culture. We have developed a method to measure CTFs in real time over extended periods, permitting reincubation between multiple measurements. Our results show that our method succeeded in measuring CTFs of NIH/3T3 fibroblasts multiple times over 24 hours.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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