The accurate characterization of living cell micro-mechanical properties is a clinically important problem since several disease pathologies depend on the deformation response of cells to applied mechanical loads. For example, the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is characterized by an increase in the permeability of the alveolar-capillary barrier, resulting in an influx of edema fluid into the lung. Due to the surfactant inactivation and decreased gas exchange, ARDS patients must be mechanically ventilated [1,3]. However, hydrodynamic stresses exerted on the epithelial cells (EpC) that line airway walls during the reopening of the collapsed or fluid-filled airways can lead to further injury known as ventilator-induced lung injury [1].

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