Navigation Links
Cellular mechanical forces may initiate angiogenesis

BOSTON and CAMBRIDGE (April 26, 2010) Pericytes, the contractile cells surrounding capillaries, may use mechanical forces to initiate angiogenesis, the "sprouting" of new blood vessels, according to researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The study, published in Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, is among the first to examine mechanical signaling by pericytes as a potential driver of angiogenesis, which is crucial in the progression of cancer, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration.

Previously, scientists have focused on the chemical signals that initiate angiogenesis and have developed drugs to alter these signals. Now, it appears that the mechanical signals from pericytes can also play a role in regulating the sprouting of new blood vessels.

"If we find that mechanical signaling, such as the force exerted by pericytes, initiates angiogenesis, we can explore ways of interfering with these signals. In this in vitro study, we found that pericytes generated contractions that physically altered the microvascular environment. In the body, such local contractions could serve as the initiating, mechanical signals that influence angiogenesis," said co-senior author Ira Herman, PhD, professor of physiology at TUSM.

"Depending on the circumstances, angiogenesis can either promote health or promote disease," he continued. "Angiogenesis is required for early development and wound healing, but it can also feed cancerous tumors or cause vascular complications in the eye. Our goals are aimed at developing drugs that might enhance wound healing angiogenesis while preventing the harmful angiogenesis that leads to tumor growth or vision loss."

Herman and team members at Tufts joined materials scientists and engineers at MIT in this interdisciplinary effort.

"This collaboration enabled us to quantify the role that mechanics plays in angiogenesis at the cellular level. We directly imaged and quantified the contraction these pericytes exerted to wrinkle the underlying membrane and examined how specific drugs amplified and mitigated this contractile force. These measurements allowed us to estimate how much pericytes contracted and stiffened the microvascular environment, sending mechanical signals to nearby cells," said co-senior author Krystyn J. Van Vliet, PhD, associate professor of materials science and engineering at MIT.

The researchers isolated pericytes, using criteria Herman helped develop, and applied them to a silicone membrane. With an atomic force microscope, researchers at MIT measured the stiffness of the contracting pericytes and the consequent degree of wrinkling the pericytes caused in the membrane. Pericytes generated contractions that caused underlying membranes to shorten by an average of 38 percent.

The first authors of the study are Sunyoung Lee, PhD, and Adam Zeiger, a PhD candidate, both members of the laboratory for material chemomechanics in the department of materials science and engineering at MIT. Additional authors are John Maloney, a PhD candidate and member of Van Vliet's laboratory for material chemomechanics in the department of materials science and engineering at MIT, and Maciej Kotecki, MD, PhD, a research associate in Herman's laboratory in the department of physiology at TUSM.

Krystyn Van Vliet is also an associate professor in the department of biological engineering at MIT. Ira Herman is also a member of the faculty in cell, molecular and developmental biology and in the cell and molecular physiology program at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts.


Contact: Siobhan Gallagher
Tufts University, Health Sciences

Related biology news :

1. Bioengineers at University of Pennsylvania devise nanoscale system to measure cellular forces
2. Boston College profs study oxidative stress subcellular to discover its role in diseases
3. Studying component parts of living cells with carbon nanotube cellular probes
4. Story ideas from Molecular & Cellular Proteomics
5. Anthrax cellular entry point uncovered
6. Genome of marine organism tells of humans unicellular ancestors
7. Researchers discover critical detail of cellular defense against genetic mistakes
8. LIAI researchers discover new cellular mechanism that will significantly advance vaccine development
9. Cellular self-eating promotes pancreatitis
10. A new cellular pathway linked to cancer is identified by NYU researchers
11. UC San Diego bioengineers fill holes in science of cellular self-organization
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... ANN ARBOR, Mich. , Oct. 29, 2015 ... with Eurofins Genomics for U.S. distribution of its ... DNA-seq kit and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq ... DNA to enable the preparation of NGS libraries ... in plasma for diagnostic and prognostic applications in ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... Oct. 27, 2015 In the present market ... concern for various industry verticals such as banking, healthcare, ... the growing demand for secure & simplified access control ... such as hacking of bank accounts, misuse of users, ... such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones are expected to ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... PALO ALTO, Calif. and LAS ... – Nok Nok Labs , an innovator in ... FIDO Alliance , today announced the launch of its ... the first unified platform enabling organizations to use standards-based ... authentication. The Nok Nok S3 Authentication Suite is ideal ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) (the "Company"), ... Toronto Stock Exchange, confirms that as of the date ... that would cause the recent movements in the Company,s ... About Aeterna Zentaris Inc. . ... Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company engaged in developing ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... LEXINGTON, Massachusetts , November 24, 2015 ... Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual ... on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. ... Poulton , Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray ... City , NY on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In harsh industrial ... points for in-line sensors can represent a weak spot where leaking process media ... of retractable sensor housings , which are designed to tolerate extreme process conditions. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... HemoShear Therapeutics, LLC, a privately held ... disorders, announced today the appointment of H. ... (BOD). Mr. Watkins is the former president and ... and also served as the chairman of the ... Chairman and CEO of HemoShear Therapeutics. "The combination ...
Breaking Biology Technology: