Acta Mechanica Solida Sinica

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 473–482 | Cite as

Advances in Experimental Approaches for Investigating Cell Aggregate Mechanics

  • Wenjun Zhang
  • Shuqi Wang
  • Min Lin
  • Yulong Han
  • Guiping Zhao
  • Tian Jian Lu
  • Feng Xu


Cells tend to form hierarchy structures in native tissues. Formation of cell aggregates in vitro such as cancer spheroids and embryonic bodies provides a unique means to study the mechanical properties and biological behaviors/functions of their counterparts in vivo. In this paper, we review state-of-the-art experimental approaches to assess the mechanical properties and mechanically-induced responses of cell aggregates in vitro. These approaches are classified into five categories according to loading modality, including micropipette aspiration, centrifugation, compression loading, substrate distention, and fluid shear loading. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, and the potential biomedical applications. Understanding of the mechanical behavior of cell aggregates provides insights to physical interactions between cells and integrity of biological functions, which may enable mechanical intervention for diseases such as atheromatosis and cancer.

Key words

cell aggregates loading method biomechanics biomedical applications 


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and Technology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biomedical Engineering and Biomechanics CenterXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Brigham and Women’s HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.The Key Laboratory of Biomedical Information Engineering of Ministry of EducationXi’an Jiaotong University School of Life Science and TechnologyXi’anChina

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