Effect of precise mechanical loading on fibroblast populated collagen lattices: Morphological changes

M. Eastwood, V. C. Mudera, D. A. McGrouther, R. A. Brown

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The contraction of a collagen lattice by resident fibroblasts causes strains to be developed within that lattice. These strains can be increased or decreased by altering the aspect ratio (ratio of length/width/thickness) of the fibroblast populated collagen lattice, as the cross-sectional area resisting the strain is changed and by the application of an external load. The fibroblasts align themselves with the direction of the maximum principle strain; in effect, these cells are 'hiding' from the perceived strain. The direction of the maximum principle strain can be predetermined by the use of a computational finite element analysis. Using the tensioning-Culture Force Monitor to apply pre-determined loading patterns of known repeatable magnitudes, as calculated by the finite element analysis, we have succeeded in aligning fibroblasts into a deliberate predicted orientation. This study has shown that the resident fibroblast population will respond to changes in strain resulting from the most subtle of mechanical loads. This may be an important mechanism in development and repair of connective tissue.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)13-21
    Number of pages8
    JournalCell Motility and the Cytoskeleton
    Volume40
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1998

    Keywords

    • Cell morphology and alignment
    • Collagen gel
    • Culture Force Monitor
    • Fibroblast
    • Mechanical loading

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