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    What is the mechanical quality of the cell membrane?

    The cells exhibit properties of their membrane and their organelles which vary according to the cell type, their commitment in the process of differentiation or during mutations. By the Micro-Pipette Aspiration (MPA) technique, membrane stiffness can be assessed. For this, micropipettes are used whose internal diameter is smaller than the cell diameter. When vacuum is applied to the cell surface, a fraction of the cell is sucked into the capillary and is deformed (Figure 1). The geometry of the aspirated fraction as a function of the applied depression allows the measurement of cell deformability. The membrane of red blood cells has been studied extensively, however the field of application of this technique is wide and can be extended to other cell types.

    Figure 1: Scheme of the principle of the Micro-Pipette Aspiration (MPA). The deformability of the membrane is measured taking into account the length of the membrane sucked into the micropipette and the vacuum applied