Using optical tweezers for measuring the interaction forces between human bone cells and implant surfaces: System design and force calibration

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Optical tweezers were used to study the interaction and attachment of human bone cells to various types of medical implant materials. Ideally, the implant should facilitate cell attachment and promote migration of the progenitor cells in order to decrease the healing time. It is therefore of interest, in a controlled manner, to be able to monitor the cell adhesion process. Results from such studies would help foresee the clinical outcome of integrating medical implants. The interactions between two primary cell culture models, human gingival fibroblasts and bone forming human osteoblast cells, and three different implant materials, glass, titanium, and hydroxyapatite, were studied. A novel type of optical tweezers, which has a newly designed quadrant detector and a powerful 3 W laser was constructed and force calibrated using two different methods: one method in which the stiffness of the optical trap was obtained by monitoring the phase lag between the trap and the moved object when imposing a forced oscillation on the trapped object and another method in which the maximum trapping force was derived from the critical velocity at which the object escapes the trap. Polystyrene beads as well as cells were utilized for the calibrations. This is the first time that cells have been used directly for these types of force calibrations and, hence, direct measurements of forces exerted on cells can be performed, thus avoiding the difficulties often encountered when translating the results obtained from cell measurements to the calibrations obtained with reference materials. This more straightforward approach represents an advantage in comparison to established methods. © 2007 American Institute of Physics.

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Review of Scientific Instruments

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