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Sickle Cell Trait Erythrocytes are Thrice as Stiff as Healthy Erythrocytes

[+] Author Affiliations
Jamie L. Maciaszek, George Lykotrafitis

University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Paper No. IMECE2010-37779, pp. 257-260; 4 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 9: Mechanics of Solids, Structures and Fluids
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4446-5
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Atomic force microscopy (AFM) allows for high-resolution topography studies of biological cells and measurement of their mechanical properties in physiological conditions. In this work, AFM was employed to measure the stiffness of abnormal human red blood cells (RBCs) from patients with the genotype for sickle cell trait. The determined Young’s modulus was compared with that obtained from measurements of erythrocytes from healthy subjects. The results showed that the Young’s modulus of pathological erythrocytes was approximately three times higher than in normal cells. Observed differences indicate the effect of hemoglobin S as well as possible changes in the organization of the cell cytoskeleton associated with the sickle cell trait.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME
Topics: Erythrocytes



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