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Internet-based image analysis quantifies contractile behavior of individual fibroblasts inside model tissue.

journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2003 by Steven Vanni, B. Christoffer Lagerholm, Carol Otey, D. Lansing Taylor, Frederick Lanni

In a cell-populated collagen gel, intrinsic fiber structure visible in differential interference contrast images can provide markers for an in situ strain gauge to quantify cell-gel mechanics, while optical sections of fluorescent protein distribution capture cytoskeletal kinematics. Mechanics quantification can be derived automatically from timelapse differential interference contrast images using a Deformation Quantification and Analysis software package accessible online at In our studies, fibroblast contractile machinery was observed to function entirely within pseudopods, while GFP-alpha-actinin concentrated in pseudopod tips and cortex. Complex strain patterns around individual cells showed instances of both elastic and inelastic strain transmission, suggesting a role in observed long-range alignment of cells.