Subcellular stretch-induced cytoskeletal response of single fibroblasts within 3D designer scaffolds

  • Author:

    A.C. Scheiwe, S.C. Frank, T.J. Autenrieth, M. Bastmeyer, and M. Wegener

  • Source:

    Biomaterials 44, 186-194 (2015)

  • Date: 13.01.2015
  • Abstract:

    In vivo, cells are exposed to mechanical forces in many different ways. These forces can strongly influence cell functions or may even lead to diseases. Through their sensing machinery, cells are able to perceive the physical information of the extracellular matrix and translate it into biochemical signals resulting in cellular responses. Here, by virtue of two-component polymer scaffolds made via direct laser writing, we precisely control the cell matrix adhesions regarding their spatial arrangement and size. This leads to highly controlled and uniform cell morphologies, thereby allowing for averaging over the results obtained from several different individual cells, enabling quantitative analysis. We transiently deform these elastic structures by a micromanipulator, which exerts controlled stretching forces on primary fibroblasts grown in these scaffolds on a subcellular level. We find stretch-induced remodeling of both actin cytoskeleton and cell matrix adhesions. The responses to static and periodic stretching are significantly different. The amount of paxillin and phosphorylated focal adhesion kinase increases in cell matrix adhesions at the manipulated pillar after static stretching whereas it decreases after periodic stretching.