Imaging the cellular response to transient shear stress using stroboscopic digital holography

Maciej Antkowiak, Yoshihiko Arita, Kishan Dholakia, Frank Gunn-Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We use stroboscopic quantitative phase microscopy to study cell deformation and the response to cavitation bubbles and transient shear stress resulting from laser-induced breakdown of an optically trapped nanoparticle. A bi-directional transient displacement of cytoplasm is observed during expansion and collapse of the cavitation bubble. In some cases, cell deformation is only observable at the microsecond time scale without any permanent change in cell shape or optical thickness. On a time scale of seconds, the cellular response to shear stress and cytoplasm deformation typically leads to retraction of the cellular edge most exposed to the flow, rounding of the cell body and, in some cases, loss of cellular dry mass. These results give a new insight into the cellular response to cavitation induced shear stress and related plasma membrane permeabilization. This study also demonstrates that laserinduced breakdown of a nanoparticle offers localized cavitation, which interacts with a single cell but without causing cell lysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120508
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for funding. K.D. is a Royal Society Wolfson-Merit Award Holder. M.A. acknowledges the support of an EPSRC funded University of St Andrews Rising Star fellowship.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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