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Cellular mechanical forces may initiate angiogenesis
Date:4/26/2010

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.


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Contact: Siobhan Gallagher
617-636-6586
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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