Rheological properties of living cells play important roles in regulating their various biological functions.
Therefore, measuring cell rheology is crucial for not only elucidating the relationship between the cell mechanics and
functions, but also mechanical diagnosis of single cells. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is becoming a useful technique
for single cell diagnosis because it allows us to measure the rheological properties of adherent cells at any region on the
surface without any modifications. In this review, we summarize AFM techniques for examining single cell rheology in
frequency and time domains. Recent applications of AFM for investigating the statistical analysis of single cell rheology
in comparison to other micro-rheological techniques are reviewed, and we discuss what specificity and universality of cell
rheology are extracted using AFM.
Keywords: Atomic force microscopy, creep relaxation, force modulation, log-normal distribution, power-law behavior, single
cell rheology, single cell diagnosis, stress relaxation, Rheological properties, living cells, cell mechanics, various biological functions, mechanical diagnosis, micro-rheological techniques
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