Electric fields can be focused by micropipette-based electrodes to induce stresses on cell membranes leading to tension and poration. To date, however, these membrane stress distributions have not been quantified. In this study, we determine membrane tension, stress, and strain distributions in the vicinity of a microelectrode using finite element analysis of a multiscale electro-mechanical model of pipette, media, membrane, actin cortex, and cytoplasm. Electric field forces are coupled to membranes using the Maxwell stress tensor and membrane electrocompression theory. Results suggest that micropipette electrodes provide a new non-contact method to deliver physiological stresses directly to membranes in a focused and controlled manner, thus providing the quantitative foundation for micreoelectrotension, a new technique for membrane mechanobiology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Modeling and Simulation
- Mechanical Engineering