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Nanometric Cell Membrane Fluctuations Assessed with Digital Holographic Microscopy

B. Rappaz, D. Van De Ville, S. Kasas, C. Depeursinge, P. Magistretti, P. Marquet

Proceedings of the Fortieth Annual Meeting of the Union of Swiss Societies for Experimental Biology (USGEB'08), Lausanne VD, Swiss Confederation, February 6-7, 2008, pp. 102.



Red blood cells (RBC) present vibratory membrane movements, called flicker, probably related to their substantial deformability capability. Many techniques have been used to assess the RBC flickering whose mechanisms are no elucidated yet, but none have been successful in monitoring the whole cell membrane fluctuations (CMF), with high resolution and in a non-disturbing way.

Digital holographic microscopy (DHM) is a technique that allows to obtain from a single recorded hologram quantitative phase images of living cells, with both microsecond and nanometric axial resolution. In this work, we use image analysis to extract the principal components of the CMF from DHM measurements performed on living human RBC. In addition, the results are compared with the oscillation eigenmodes obtained by finite element methods (FEM) using a structural model.

Using DHM, we observe different components of CMF in the nanometer range that are closely related to the eigenmodes obtained by FEM. This reveals a fundamental link between the experimental (imaging) data and the simulated (structural) data shedding new light on the flicker phenomenon.


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