Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
It has a long been known that many, if not all, diseases are associated with changes in the mechanical
properties of cells. Although these changes in tissue mechanics have been believed to be a
conseguence of the disease, recent data show that alterations of these mechanical properties have
potent eect to many cellular functions. Thus, there is no reason to believe that altered cellular
mechanics could be a cause of the disease, rather than its consequence. A complete understanding
of cell mechanics and how the latter one depends on the presence of a disease is therefore necessary
in order to develop methods of early diagnosis.
In this master thesis we report the preliminary results of cell mechanical response of broblasts
obtained simulating AFM (Atomic Force Microscopy) with COMSOL 4.1. Specically, we tried to
nd out what is the relationship that coexists between the reaction force of a broblast when urged
by this type of technique. A subsequent process of reverse engineering led to a simply analytical
model for the quantication of the mechanical properties of this type of cell.
The second part of this work aims to improve the understading of the mechanotrasduction
mechanism of cells. The second model, indeed, reports the results of soft concact and adhesion of
a broblast with a polyacrylamide substrate.
Finally, we built up a numerical model that combines the assumptios of the rst and the second one.
2011. , 44 p.