Mechanobiology is an emerging field which seeks to link mechanical forces and properties to the behaviors of cells and tissues in cancer, stem cell growth, and other processes. Traction force microscopy (TFM) is an imaging technique that enables the study of traction forces exerted by cells on their environment to migrate as well as sense and manipulate their surroundings. To date, TFM research has been performed using incoherent imaging modalities and, until recently, has been largely confined to the study of cell-induced tractions within two-dimensions using highly artificial and controlled environments. As the field of mechanobiology advances, and demand grows for research in physiologically relevant 3D culture and in vivo models, TFM will require imaging modalities that support such settings. Optical coherence microscopy (OCM) is an interferometric imaging modality which enables 3D cellular resolution imaging in highly scattering environments. Moreover, optical coherence elastography (OCE) enables the measurement of tissue mechanical properties. OCE relies on the principle of measuring material deformations in response to artificially applied stress. By extension, similar techniques can enable the measurement of cell-induced deformations, imaged with OCM. We propose traction force optical coherence microscopy (TF-OCM) as a natural extension and partner to existing OCM and OCE methods. We report the first use of OCM data and digital image correlation to track temporally varying displacement fields exhibited within a 3D culture setting. These results mark the first steps toward the realization of TF-OCM in 2D and 3D settings, bolstering OCM as a platform for advancing research in mechanobiology.
Jeffrey A. Mulligan and Steven G. Adie, "Measurement of time-varying displacement fields in cell culture for traction force optical coherence microscopy (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10053, Optical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Domain Optical Methods in Biomedicine XXI, 1005323 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 01, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2254927.5371723177001.
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