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High-throughput single-cell rheology in complex samples by dynamic real-time deformability cytometry

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Abstract

In life sciences, the material properties of suspended cells have attained significance close to that of fluorescent markers but with the advantage of label-free and unbiased sample characterization. Until recently, cell rheological measurements were either limited by acquisition throughput, excessive post processing, or low-throughput real-time analysis. Real-time deformability cytometry expanded the application of mechanical cell assays to fast on-the-fly phenotyping of large sample sizes, but has been restricted to single material parameters as the Young’s modulus. Here, we introduce dynamic real-time deformability cytometry for comprehensive cell rheological measurements at up to 100 cells per second. Utilizing Fourier decomposition, our microfluidic method is able to disentangle cell response to complex hydrodynamic stress distributions and to determine viscoelastic parameters independent of cell shape. We demonstrate the application of our technology for peripheral blood cells in whole blood samples including the discrimination of B- and CD4+ T-lymphocytes by cell rheological properties.

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Fregin, B., Czerwinski, F., Biedenweg, D., Girardo, S., Gross, S., Aurich, K., & Otto, O. (2019). High-throughput single-cell rheology in complex samples by dynamic real-time deformability cytometry. Nature Communications, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-08370-3

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