Atomic force microscopy measurement of the elastic properties of the kidney epithelial cells

Y. Rabinovich, M. Esayanur, S. Daosukho, K. Byer, H. El-Shall, S. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Direct interaction force measurements using atomic force microscopy (AFM) were carried out between a silicon nitride tip and renal epithelial cells (Madin-Darby Canine Kidney-MDCK and proximal tubular epithelial cells derived from pig kidneys, LLC-PK1). The approaching (extending) portion of the force/distance curves is considered, and repulsive forces in the long range of 2-3 μm were seen in both MDCK as well as LLC-PK1 cells growing under normal conditions. The repulsive force in the shorter distance range of 50-200 nm was also observed, when cells were damaged exposing the underlying basal membrane. LLC-PK1 cells were more prone to damage than the MDCK cells, hence short-range forces were common in the former and long-range forces in the latter cells. The functional dependence of repulsive force on the indentation depth changes, at small indentation depth the force increases linearly, while at larger indentations the force is a quadratic function of the distance, which is attributed to the elasticity of the membrane and the solid-like response of cells, respectively. The oxalate treatment of cells for 2-4 h gives rise to an increase in the elastic modulus of the cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-135
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Elastic properties
  • Kidney epithelial cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces and Interfaces


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