Nanomechanical insights: Amyloid beta oligomer-induced senescent brain endothelial cells

Tanmay Kulkarni, Ramcharan Singh Angom, Pritam Das, Santanu Bhattacharya, Debabrata Mukhopadhyay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Senescent cells accumulate in various peripheral tissues during aging and have been shown to exacerbate age-related inflammatory responses. We recently showed that exposure to neurotoxic amyloid β (Aβ1–42) oligomers can readily induce a senescence phenotype in human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMECs). In the present work, we used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to further characterize the morphological properties such as cell membrane roughness and cell height and nanomechanical properties such as Young's modulus of the membrane (membrane stiffness) and adhesion resulting from the interaction between AFM tip and cell membrane in Aβ1–42 oligomer-induced senescent human brain microvascular endothelial cells. Morphological imaging studies showed a flatter and spread-out nucleus in the senescent HBMECs, both characteristic features of a senescent phenotype. Furthermore, the mean cell body roughness and mean cell height were lower in senescent HBMECs compared to untreated normal HBMECs. We also observed increased stiffness and alterations in the adhesion properties in Aβ1–42 oligomer-induced senescent endothelial cells compared to the untreated normal HBMECs suggesting dynamic reorganization of cell membrane. We then show that vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR-1) knockdown or overexpression of Rho GTPase Rac 1 in the endothelial cells inhibited senescence and reversed these nanomechanical alterations, confirming a direct role of these pathways in the senescent brain endothelial cells. These results illustrate that nanoindentation and topographic analysis of live senescent brain endothelial cells can provide insights into cerebrovascular dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number183061
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Amyloid beta oligomer
  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Brain endothelial cells
  • Nanoindentation
  • Nanomechanical properties
  • Senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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