Friday, October 26, 2012

Studying Single Red Blood Cells Under a Tunable External Force by Combining Passive Microrheology with Raman Spectroscopy

Saurabh Raj, Michal Wojdyla and Dmitri PetrovThe dynamic micromechanical and structural properties of single human red blood cells are studied using a combination of dual trap optical tweezers and confocal Raman spectroscopy. Such a combination permits us to show a direct relationship between the rheological properties and chemical structure conformation. The frequency dependence of the complex stiffness of the cells was measured using both one and two probe response functions under identical experimental conditions. Both the microrheology and Raman measurements were performed at different stretching forces applied to the cell. A detailed analysis of the auto- and cross-correlated probe motions allows exploring the local and overall viscoelastic properties of the cells over a controlled range of the deformations. The observed growth of the cell viscoelasticity with stretching was associated with structural changes in the cell membrane monitored via the Raman spectroscopy.
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