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Small mechanical forces have big impact on embryonic stem cells
Date:10/18/2009

ment of bioengineering. "The stiffer the stem cell, the less it spreads under stress."

The researchers obtained the same results when they applied cyclic forces to stiff human muscle cells. They did not experiment with human embryonic stem cells.

To study some of the long-term effects of localized mechanical forces on the behavior of mouse embryonic stem cells, the researchers utilized the expression of an enhanced green fluorescent gene. Cells expressing this gene glow fluorescent green when exposed to blue light.

As the mechanical force was applied in the researchers' experiments, the green fluorescence in cells with magnetic beads faded, indicating reduced gene expression. Control cells (without beads) a few microns away continued to glow.

"The softness of mouse embryonic stem cells makes them very sensitive to localized cyclic forces," Wang said. "If our findings can be extended to early animal embryos, they could provide a new way of locally differentiating a single cell of early lineage, while leaving nearby cells alone."


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Contact: James E. Kloeppel
kloeppel@illinois.edu
217-244-1073
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

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