Force and compliance measurements on living cells using atomic force microscopy (AFM)

Ewa P. Wojcikiewicz, Xiaohui Zhang, Vincent T. Moy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

109 Scopus citations


We describe the use of atomic force microscopy (AFM) in studies of cell adhesion and cell compliance. Our studies use the interaction between leukocyte function associated antigen-1 (LFA-1)/intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) as a model system. The forces required to unbind a single LFA-1/ICAM-1 bond were measured at different loading rates. This data was used to determine the dynamic strength of the LFA-1/ICAM-1 complex and characterize the activation potential that this complex overcomes during its breakage. Force measurements acquired at the multiple- bond level provided insight about the mechanism of cell adhesion. In addition, the AFM was used as a microindenter to determine the mechanical properties of cells. The applications of these methods are described using data from a previous study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Procedures Online
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2004



  • Atomic force
  • Cell adhesion
  • Leukocytes
  • Microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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