Impact of poloxamer 188 (Pluronic F-68) additive on cell mechanical properties, quantification by real-time deformability cytometry

Ewa Guzniczak*, Melanie Jimenez, Matthew Irwin, Oliver Otto, Nicholas Willoughby, Helen Bridle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
132 Downloads (Pure)


Advances in cellular therapies have led to the development of new approaches for cell product purification and formulation, e.g., utilizing cell endogenous properties such as size and deformability as a basis for separation from potentially harmful undesirable by-products. However, commonly used additives such as Pluronic F-68 and other poloxamer macromolecules can change the mechanical properties of cells and consequently alter their processing. In this paper, we quantified the short-term effect of Pluronic F-68 on the mechanotype of three different cell types (Jurkat cells, red blood cells, and human embryonic kidney cells) using real-time deformability cytometry. The impact of the additive concentration was assessed in terms of cell size and deformability. We observed that cells respond progressively to the presence of Pluronic F-68 within first 3 h of incubation and become significantly stiffer (p-value < 0.001) in comparison to a serum-free control and a control containing serum. We also observed that the short-term response manifested as cell stiffening is true (p-value < 0.001) for the concentration reaching 1% (w/v) of the poloxamer additive in tested buffers. Additionally, using flow cytometry, we assessed that changes in cell deformability triggered by addition of Pluronic F-68 are not accompanied by size or viability alterations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044118
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Genetics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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