Alteration of Young's modulus in mesenchymal stromal cells during osteogenesis measured by atomic force microscopy

Meng Hua Yen, Yu Han Chen, Yi Shiuan Liu*, Oscar Kuang Sheng Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

19 Scopus citations


Mechanical properties of biological tissues are increasingly recognized as an important parameter for the indication of disease states as well as tissue homeostasis and regeneration. Multipotent mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs), which play important roles in bone formation and remodeling, are potential cell sources for regenerative medicine. However, the cellular mechanical properties of differentiating MSCs corresponding to the substrate stiffness has not been sufficiently studied. In this study, we used Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) to measure changes of stiffness of human MSCs cultured in rigid Petri dish and on polyacrylamide (PA) substrates during osteogenic differentiation. The results showed that the Young's modulus of MSC cytoplasmic outer region increased over time during osteogenesis. There is a strong linear correlation between the osteogenic induction time and the Young's modulus of the cells cultured in rigid Petri dishes in the first 15 days after the induction; the Young's modulus approaches to a plateau after day 15. On the other hand, the Young's moduli of MSCs cultured on PA gels with stiffness of 7 kPa and 42 kPa also increase over time during osteogenic differentiation, but the inclination of such increase is much smaller than that of MSCs differentiating in rigid dishes. Herein, we established a protocol of AFM measurement to evaluate the maturation of stem cell osteogenic differentiation at the single cell level and could encourage further AFM applications in tissue engineering related to mechanobiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-832
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 04 06 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Atomic force microscopy (AFM)
  • Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs)
  • Osteogenic differentiation
  • Substrate stiffness
  • Young's modulus


Dive into the research topics of 'Alteration of Young's modulus in mesenchymal stromal cells during osteogenesis measured by atomic force microscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this