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Title: Field Guide to Traction Force Microscopy
Abstract Introduction

Traction force microscopy (TFM) is a widely used technique to measure cell contractility on compliant substrates that mimic the stiffness of human tissues. For every step in a TFM workflow, users make choices which impact the quantitative results, yet many times the rationales and consequences for making these decisions are unclear. We have found few papers which show the complete experimental and mathematical steps of TFM, thus obfuscating the full effects of these decisions on the final output.

Methods

Therefore, we present this “Field Guide” with the goal to explain the mathematical basis of common TFM methods to practitioners in an accessible way. We specifically focus on how errors propagate in TFM workflows given specific experimental design and analytical choices.

Results

We cover important assumptions and considerations in TFM substrate manufacturing, substrate mechanical properties, imaging techniques, image processing methods, approaches and parameters used in calculating traction stress, and data-reporting strategies.

Conclusions

By presenting a conceptual review and analysis of TFM-focused research articles published over the last two decades, we provide researchers in the field with a better understanding of their options to make more informed choices when creating TFM workflows depending on the type of cell being studied. With this review, we aim to empower experimentalists to quantify cell contractility with confidence.

 
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NSF-PAR ID:
10501993
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Springer Science + Business Media
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering
Volume:
17
Issue:
2
ISSN:
1865-5025
Format(s):
Medium: X Size: p. 87-106
Size(s):
["p. 87-106"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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