Determining the mechanical properties of human corneal basement membranes with atomic force microscopy

Julie A. Last, Sara J. Liliensiek, Paul F. Nealey, Christopher J Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

119 Scopus citations

Abstract

Biophysical cues such as substrate modulus have been shown to influence a variety of cell behaviors. We have determined the elastic modulus of the anterior basement membrane and Descemet's membrane of the human cornea with atomic force microscopy (AFM). A spherical probe was used with a radius approximating that of a typical cell focal adhesion. Values obtained for the elastic modulus of the anterior basement membrane range from 2 to 15 kPa, with a mean of 7.5 ± 4.2 kPa. The elastic modulus of Descemet's membrane was found to be slightly higher than those observed for the anterior basement membrane, with a mean of 50 ± 17.8 kPa and a range of 20-80 kPa. The topography of Descemet's membrane has been shown to be similar to that of the anterior basement, but with smaller pore sizes resulting in a more tightly packed structure. This structural difference may account for the observed modulus differences. The determination of these values will allow for the design of a better model of the cellular environment as well as aid in the design and fabrication of artificial corneas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Volume167
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Atomic force microscopy (AFM)
  • Basement membrane
  • Cornea
  • Modulus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology

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