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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(8), 16124-16140;

Neuron Biomechanics Probed by Atomic Force Microscopy

Department of Physics and Astronomy and Center for Nanoscopic Physics, Tufts University, 4 Colby Street, Medford, MA 02155, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 June 2013 / Revised: 16 July 2013 / Accepted: 18 July 2013 / Published: 5 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers of Micro-Spectroscopy in Biological Applications)
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Mechanical interactions play a key role in many processes associated with neuronal growth and development. Over the last few years there has been significant progress in our understanding of the role played by the substrate stiffness in neuronal growth, of the cell-substrate adhesion forces, of the generation of traction forces during axonal elongation, and of the relationships between the neuron soma elastic properties and its health. The particular capabilities of the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), such as high spatial resolution, high degree of control over the magnitude and orientation of the applied forces, minimal sample damage, and the ability to image and interact with cells in physiologically relevant conditions make this technique particularly suitable for measuring mechanical properties of living neuronal cells. This article reviews recent advances on using the AFM for studying neuronal biomechanics, provides an overview about the state-of-the-art measurements, and suggests directions for future applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: Atomic Force Microscopy; neurons; cellular elasticity; cellular biomechanics; cytoskeletal dynamics Atomic Force Microscopy; neurons; cellular elasticity; cellular biomechanics; cytoskeletal dynamics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Spedden, E.; Staii, C. Neuron Biomechanics Probed by Atomic Force Microscopy. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 16124-16140.

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