Measuring the Viscoelasticity of the Extracellular Matrix by Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy and Orbital Tracking Microrheology

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Abigail Figueroa; Daniel Bugas; Anthony Loper; Matthew Ferguson
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Mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix affect the growth of tissue, the integrity of blood vessels and cancer metastasis. There are currently very few methods that can measure mechanical properties of tissues at molecular length scales in living cells, tissues and organisms. We propose and evaluate two novel techniques based on Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy and 3D Orbital Tracking to measure the micromechanical properties of collagen gels, glycerol solutions and in living cells. We find that using simple models of entangled polymer gels and passive single point microrheology we can characterize the complex viscoelastic modulus of an entangled collagen gel. In the future we intend to apply this technique in living biomasses and the vasculature of the Sea Squirt, Botryllus Schlosseri.