Volume 81, Number 4, February 2008
Article Number 46003
Number of page(s) 6
Section Condensed Matter: Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties
Published online 24 January 2008
EPL, 81 (2008) 46003
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/81/46003

Experimental evaluation of apparent tissue surface tension based on the exact solution of the Laplace equation

C. Norotte1, F. Marga2, A. Neagu2, 3, I. Kosztin2 and G. Forgacs1, 2

1  Department of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri - Columbia, MO 65211, USA
2  Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Missouri - Columbia, MO 65211, USA
3  Department of Biophysics and Medical Informatics, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Timisoara 300041 Timisoara, Romania

received 23 October 2007; accepted in final form 20 December 2007; published February 2008
published online 24 January 2008

The notion of apparent tissue surface tension offered a systematic way to interpret certain morphogenetic processes in early development. It also allowed deducing quantitative information on cellular and molecular parameters that is otherwise difficult to obtain. To accurately determine such tensions we combined novel experiments with the exact solution of the Laplace equation for the profile of a liquid drop under the employed experimental conditions and used the exact solution to evaluate data collected on tissues. Our results confirm that tissues composed of adhesive and motile cells indeed can be characterized in terms of well-defined apparent surface tension. Our experimental technique presents a way to measure liquid interfacial tensions under conditions when known methods fail.

68.03.Cd - Surface tension and related phenomena.
87.17.-d - Cellular structure and processes.

© EPLA 2008