Microelastic properties of lung cell-derived extracellular matrix

Patricia A. Soucy, Jeffery Werbin, William Heinz, Jan Hakan Hoh, Lewis H. Romer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanical properties of the extracellular microenvironment regulate cell behavior, including migration, proliferation and morphogenesis. Although the elastic moduli of synthetic materials have been studied, little is known about the properties of naturally produced extracellular matrix. Here we have utilized atomic force microscopy to characterize the microelastic properties of decellularized cell-derived matrix from human pulmonary fibroblasts. This heterogeneous three-dimensional matrix had an average thickness of 5 ± 0.4 μm and a Young's modulus of 105 ± 14 Pa. Ascorbate treatment of the lung fibroblasts prior to extraction produced a twofold increase in collagen I content, but did not affect the stiffness of the matrices compared with matrices produced in standard medium. However, fibroblast-derived matrices that were crosslinked with glutaraldehyde demonstrated a 67% increase in stiffness. This work provides a microscale characterization of fibroblast-derived matrix mechanical properties. An accurate understanding of native three-dimensional extracellular microenvironments will be essential for controlling cell responses in tissue engineering applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-105
Number of pages10
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Fibroblast
  • Lung
  • Mechanical properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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