Effect of membrane stiffness and cytoskeletal element density on mechanical stimuli within cells: an analysis of the consequences of ageing in cells

Feng Xue, Alex B. Lennon, Katey K. McKayed, Veronica A. Campbell, Patrick J. Prendergast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)
486 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

A finite element model of a single cell was created and used to investigate the effects of ageing on biophysical stimuli generated within a cell. Major cellular components were incorporated in the model: the membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus, microtubules, actin filaments, intermediate filaments, nuclear lamina, and chromatin. The model used multiple sets of tensegrity structures. Viscoelastic properties were assigned to the continuum components. To corroborate the model, a simulation of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) indentation was performed and results showed a force/indentation simulation with the range of experimental results.

Ageing was simulated by both increasing membrane stiffness (thereby modelling membrane peroxidation with age) and decreasing density of cytoskeletal elements (thereby modelling reduced actin density with age). Comparing normal and aged cells under indentation predicts that aged cells have a lower membrane area subjected to high strain compared to young cells, but the difference, surprisingly, is very small and would not be measurable experimentally. Ageing is predicted to have more significant effect on strain deep in the nucleus. These results show that computation of biophysical stimuli within cells are achievable with single-cell computational models whose force/displacement behaviour is within experimentally observed ranges. the models suggest only small, though possibly physiologically-significant, differences in internal biophysical stimuli between normal and aged cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-476
Number of pages9
JournalComputer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering
Volume18
Issue number5
Early online date15 Aug 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • cytoskeleton
  • nucleoskeleton
  • tensegrity
  • ageing
  • cell mechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Bioengineering

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