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Journal for Biophysical Chemistry

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  • Open Access

Continuum model of mechanical interactions between biological cells and artificial nanostructures

  • 1,
  • 1 and
  • 1

  • Received: 8 March 2010
  • Accepted: 29 April 2010


The controlled insertion of artificial nanostructures into biological cells has been utilized for patch clamping, targeted drug delivery, cell lysing, and cell mechanics measurements. In this work, an elastic continuum model is implemented to treat the deformation of spherical cells in solution due to their interaction with cylindrical probes. At small deformations, the force varies nonlinearly with indentation due to global deformation of the cell shape. However, at large indentations, the force varies linearly with indentation due to more localized deformations. These trends are consistent with experimental measurements under comparable conditions and can be used to develop design rules for optimizing probe-cell interactions.