Micropipette Cell and Tissue Aspiration

Micropipette Cell and Tissue Aspiration

Micropipette aspiration is a powerful non-invasive technique to evaluate how biomechanical properties of single cells or tissue govern cell shape, cell response to mechanic stimuli, transition from nontumorigenic to tumorigenic state or morphogenesis.
The Fluigent MFCS™-EZ and Flow EZ™ pressure controllers are particularly suited for this method since it requires applying forces ranging from 10pN to 1nN accurately.

Picture on the right: Microaspiration of a mouse zygote. Photo courtesy of Dr Jean-Léon Maître, (Institut Curie, France)


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  • Non-invasive: allows repetitive measurements on the same sample (ex biomechanical variations over time).
  • Economical, easy to use and build compared to AFM, cytoindenter and optical tweezers.
  • Time saving: instantaneous application of a given pressure compared to manual manipulation.
  • High sensitivity: measurements of cytoskeleton structural and organizational modifications not visible with confocal microscopy.
  • High resolution: small pressure increments (0.007mbar) accessible by the system at low pressure (0.1-10mbar).



  • Biomechanical properties measurement of cells, tissues, tumors, embryo.
  • Cell manipulation: in vitro fertilization, precise cell positioning.
  • Mechanosensitivity/mechanotransduction studies: apply controlled mechanical stimulation to investigate mechanosensory response of cells.
  • Tension heterogeneity within tissue: compare cell to cell surface tension in a tissue.
  • Morphogenesis: determine contractile forces driving cell segregation, elongation or migration.

Video: Microaspiration of the blastomeres of an 8-cell stage mouse embryo (red: membrane marker). Movie courtesy of Dr Jean-Léon Maître, (Institut Curie, France)


Selected publications from our customers

Guevorkian K, Maître JL. Micropipette aspiration: A unique tool for exploring cell and tissue mechanics in vivo. MethodsCellBiol. 2017;139:187-201

Maître JL et al, Asymmetric division of contractile domains couples cellpositioning and fate specification, Nature. 2016 Aug 18;536(7616):344-34

Biro M, Maître JL, Dual pipette aspiration: a unique tool for studying intercellular adhesion. MethodsCellBiol. 2015;125:255-67

Porazinski S et al, YAP is essential for tissue tension to ensure vertebrate 3D body shape. Nature. 2015 May 14;521(7551):217-221

Maître JL et al, Pulsatile cell-autonomouscontractility drives compaction in the mouse embryo. Nat CellBiol. 2015 Jul;17(7):849-55

Maître JL et al, Adhesion functions in cell sorting by mechanically coupling the cortices of adhering cells. Science. 2012;338(6104):253-6