Local mechanical response of cells to the controlled rotation of magnetic nanorods

Matias Castillo, Roberto Ebensperger, Denis Wirtz, Magdalena Walczak, Daniel E. Hurtado, Alfredo Celedon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The mechanical response of the cytoplasm was investigated by the intracellular implantation of magnetic nanorods and exposure to low-frequency rotatory magnetic fields. Nanorods (Pt-Ni, ∼200 nm diameter) fabricated by electrodeposition in templates of porous alumina with lengths of approximately 2 and 5 μm were inserted into NIH/3T3 fibroblasts and manipulated with a rotational magnetic field. Nanorod rotation was observed only for torques greater than 3.0 × 102-6 Nm, suggesting a Bingham-type behavior of the cytoplasm. Higher torques produced considerable deformation of the intracellular material. The cell nucleus and cell membrane were significantly deformed by nanorods actuated by 4.5 × 102-5 Nm torques. Our results demonstrate that nanorods under magnetic fields are an effective tool to mechanically probe the intracellular environment. We envision that our findings may contribute to the noninvasive and direct mechanical characterization of the cytoplasm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1779-1785
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Bingham fluid
  • Cytoplasm mechanics
  • Magnetic nanorods
  • Rotatory magnetic field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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