Imaging the cellular response to transient shear stress using time-resolved digital holography

Yoshihiko Arita*, Maciej Antkowiak, Frank Gunn-Moore, Kishan Dholakia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Shear stress has been recognized as one of the biophysical methods by which to permeabilize plasma membranes of cells. In particular, high pressure transient hydrodynamic flows created by laser-induced cavitation have been shown to lead to the uptake of fluorophores and plasmid DNA. While the mechanism and dynamics of cavitation have been extensively studied using a variety of time-resolved imaging techniques, the cellular response to the cavitation bubble and cavitation induced transient hydrodynamic flows has never been shown in detail. We use time-resolved quantitative phase microscopy to study cellular response to laser-induced cavitation bubbles. Laser-induced breakdown of an optically trapped polystyrene nanoparticle (500 nm in diameter) irradiated with a single nanosecond laser pulse at 532 nm creates transient shear stress to surrounding cells without causing cell lysis. A bi-directional transient displacement of cytoplasm is observed during expansion and collapse of the cavitation bubble. In some cases, cell deformation is only observable at the microsecond time scale without any permanent change in cell shape or optical thickness. On a time scale of seconds, the cellular response to shear stress and cytoplasm deformation typically leads to retraction of the cellular edge most exposed to the flow, rounding of the cell body and, in some cases, loss of cellular dry mass. These results give a new insight into the cellular response to laser-induced shear stress and related plasma membrane permeabilization. This study also demonstrates that laser-induced breakdown of an optically trapped nanoparticle offers localized cavitation (70 pm in diameter), which interacts with a single cell.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Elastography and Tissue Biomechanics
EditorsKV Larin, DD Sampson
Place of PublicationBellingham
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2014
EventConference on Optical Elastography and Tissue Biomechanics - San Francisco, Canada
Duration: 1 Feb 20142 Feb 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceConference on Optical Elastography and Tissue Biomechanics


  • Digital holography
  • Time-resolved imaging
  • Laser-induced breakdown
  • Optical trapping
  • Cell transfection
  • Molecular delivery
  • Laser
  • Lyis
  • Mechanisms
  • Ablation
  • Dynamics


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