Mechanical fingerprints of pathological changes in tissue samples

Various research has demonstrated that mechanical properties of tissues can be correlated with the specific disease that could be grouped into diseases, in which mechanical properties (1) originate from obvious genetic mutations leading to impairments of cytoskeleton functioning (muscular dystrophy) or (2) constitute the manifestation of disease progression (e.g. cancer).

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a disease, in which point mutation leads to lack of dystrophin, a protein that participates in the link between actin filaments and cell membrane. As a consequence, a weakening of muscles is observed. The nanoscale measurements of mice mdx muscles demonstrated that their deformability is similar to that obtained after cytochalasin D treatment (an agent depolymerizing actin filaments).

Effect of cytochalasin D on mice muscle stiffness. Normalized Young’s modulus value distributions performed on thick longitudinal sections of (A) wild-type or (B) mdx mice muscles (black bars) are shown in comparison with those obtained from an adjacent section of the same muscle treated with cytochalasin D (gray bars). The distributions were fitted with Gaussian curves, where the centers of distribution denote the Young’s modulus mean value (Puttini et al. Mol. Ther. 2009)



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