Nucleus is the largest and usually stiffest organelle in a eukaryotic cell. Thus its mechanical properties is tightly related to various cell functions and activities. In this work, we developed a label-free flow cytometry platform to characterize the nuclear mechanics with the help of Brillouin microscopy, which is an all-optical technique so that can measure the stiffness of the nucleus in a non-contact, non-invasive and label-free manner. We demonstrate that Brillouin flow cytometry is able to detect physiologically-relevant changes in nuclear stiffness with enough sensitivity.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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