Extraction of cilium beat parameters by the combined application of photoelectric measurements and computer simulation

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Photoelectric signals were created and used to investigate the features of the signals as a function of the ciliary beat parameters. Moreover, correlation between the simulated and the measured signals permitted measurement of the cilium beat parameters. The simulations of the signals were based on generation of a series of time-frozen top-view frames of an active ciliary area and determination of the amount of light passing through an observation area in each of these frames. All the factors that might contribute to the shape of the signals, namely, partial ciliary transmittance of light, three-dimensional ciliary beat (composed of recovery, effective, and pause parts), phase distribution on the ciliary surface, and the large number of cilia that contribute to the photoelectric signal, were taken into account in generation of the signals. Changes in the ciliary parameters influenced the shape of the photoelectric signals, and the different phases of the beat could not be directly and unequivocally identified in the signals. The degree of temporal asymmetry of the beat and the portion of the cycle occupied by the pause significantly influenced the shapes of both the lower and the upper parts of the signal and the slopes of the signal. Increases in the angle of the arc swept by the cilium during the effective stroke smoothed the signals and increased the duration of the upper part of the signal. The angle of the arc projected by the cilium onto the cell surface during the recovery stroke had minor effects on the signal's shape. Characteristics of the metachronal wave also influenced the signal's shape markedly. Decreases in ciliary spacing smoothed the signals, whereas ciliary length had a minor influence on the simulated photoelectric signals. Comparison of the simulated and the measured signals showed that the beat parameters of the best-fitting simulated signals converged to values that agree well with the accepted range of beat parameters in mucociliary systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-462
Number of pages14
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1997


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