Astrocytes are known to serve as scaffolding cells that shape the brain. The physical properties of astrocytes, such as stiffness, are important for their scaffolding function. These properties may be altered in certain pathological conditions, such as in brain cancer. However, actual stiffness of astrocytes is not yet well understood. Here, we report that the astrocyte stiffness is positively correlated with the density of cytoskeletal proteins, such as actin filaments, microtubules, and intermediate filaments. The value of the stiffness of astrocytes as measured by atomic force microscopy (AFM) increases 38-fold in five-week-old rats compared to postnatal-day zero pups. Using multicolor confocal microscopy, we found that the complexity of cytoskeletal proteins, such as actin filaments, microtubules, and intermediate filaments, increase as the animal gets older. Our findings indicate that the change of stiffness positively correlates with the maturation of cytoskeletal proteins, and suggest that AFM can be useful as an analytical and diagnostic tool for neuroscience.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A|
|Publication status||Published - 2014 Jan 1|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Ceramics and Composites
- Metals and Alloys