Numerical estimation of 3D mechanical forces exerted by cells on non-linear materials Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2013

start page

  • 50

end page

  • 55


  • 1


  • 46

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-9290


  • Abstract: The exchange of physical forces in both cell&-cell and cell&-matrix interactions play a significant role in a variety of physiological and pathological processes, such as cell migration, cancer metastasis, inflammation and wound healing. Therefore, great interest exists in accurately quantifying the forces that cells exert on their substrate during migration. Traction Force Microscopy (TFM) is the most widely used method for measuring cell traction forces. Several mathematical techniques have been developed to estimate forces from TFM experiments. However, certain simplifications are commonly assumed, such as linear elasticity of the materials and/or free geometries, which in some cases may lead to inaccurate results. Here, cellular forces are numerically estimated by solving a minimization problem that combines multiple non-linear FEM solutions. Our simulations, free from constraints on the geometrical and the mechanical conditions, show that forces are predicted with higher accuracy than when using the standard approaches.


  • traction force microscopy; finite element modeling; inverse analysis; finite element modeling; inverse analysis; mechano sensing; nonlinear mechanics; traction forces; cells; elasticity; finite element method; pathology; traction friction; cytology; accuracy; article; cell interaction; computer simulation; controlled study; extracellular matrix; finite element analysis; force; geometry; mechanics; mechanotransduction; microscopy; non linear mechanics; priority journal; traction force microscopy; young modulus; cell line; tumor; cell movement; collagen; humans; hydrogel; models; biological; sepharose