Navigation Links
Unexpected discovery of the ways cells move could boost understanding of complex diseases
Date:6/23/2013

Boston, MA A new discovery about how cells move inside the body may provide scientists with crucial information about disease mechanisms such as the spread of cancer or the constriction of airways caused by asthma. Led by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), investigators found that epithelial cellsthe type that form a barrier between the inside and the outside of the body, such as skin cellsmove in a group, propelled by forces both from within and from nearby cellsto fill any unfilled spaces they encounter.

The study appears June 23, 2013 in an advance online edition of Nature Materials.

"We were trying to understand the basic relationship between collective cellular motions and collective cellular forces, as might occur during cancer cell invasion, for example. But in doing so we stumbled onto a phenomenon that was totally unexpected," said senior author Jeffrey Fredberg, professor of bioengineering and physiology in the HSPH Department of Environmental Health and co-senior investigator of HSPH's Molecular and Integrative Cellular Dynamics lab.

Biologists, engineers, and physicists from HSPH and IBEC worked together to shed light on collective cellular motion because it plays a key role in functions such as wound healing, organ development, and tumor growth. Using a technique called monolayer stress microscopywhich they invented themselvesthey measured the forces affecting a single layer of moving epithelial cells. They examined the cells' velocity and direction as well as tractionhow some cells either pull or push themselves and thus force collective movement.

As they expected, the researchers found that when an obstacle was placed in the path of an advancing cell layerin this case, a gel that provided no tractionthe cells moved around it, tightly hugging the sides of the gel as they passed. However, the researchers also found something surprisingthat the cells, in addition to moving forward, continued to pull themselves collectively back toward the gel, as if yearning to fill the unfilled space. The researchers dubbed this movement "kenotaxis," from the Greek words "keno" (vacuum) and "taxis" (arrangement), because it seemed the cells were attempting to fill a vacuum.

This new finding could help researchers better understand cell behaviorand evaluate potential drugs to influence that behaviorin a variety of complex diseases, such as cancer, asthma, cardiovascular disease, developmental abnormalities, and glaucoma. The finding could also help with tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, both of which rely on cell migration.

In carcinomas, for instancewhich represent 90% of all cancers and involve epithelial cellsthe new information on cell movement could improve understanding of how cancer cells migrate through the body. Asthma research could also get a boost, because scientists think migration of damaged epithelial cells in the lungs are involved in the airway narrowing caused by the disease.

"Kenotaxis is a property of the cellular collective, not the individual cell," said Jae Hun Kim, the study's first author. "It was amazing to us that the cellular collective can organize to pull itself systematically in one direction while moving systematically in an altogether different direction."


'/>"/>

Contact: Marge Dwyer
mhdwyer@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-8416
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Clues to heart disease in unexpected places, Temple researchers discover
2. Female mice exposed to BPA by mothers show unexpected characteristics
3. An ocean away: 2 new encrusting anemones found in unexpected locations
4. Princeton researchers identify unexpected bottleneck in the spread of herpes simplex virus
5. Wind concentrates pollutants with unexpected order in an urban environment
6. Unexpected discovery reveals a new mechanism for how the cerebellum extracts signal from noise
7. Unexpected crustacean diversity discovered in northern freshwater ecosystems
8. Discovery of how a gene that regulates factors involved in bacteria pathogenicity acts
9. Discovery of new material state counterintuitive to laws of physics
10. Discovery of the gene responsible for multiple intestinal atresia in newborns
11. Autism discovery paves way for early blood test and therapeutic options
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/2/2016)... -- The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) of ... US Dollar project, for the , Supply and ... and IT Infrastructure , to Decatur ... of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated in ... was selected for the most compliant and innovative solution. ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt is excited ... with VoicePass. By working together, VoiceIt ...  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly different approaches ... increases both security and usability. ... about this new partnership. "This marketing ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April ... EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... today announced a global partnership that will provide ... to use mobile banking and payment services.      ... a key innovation area for financial services, but it also ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Durham, NC (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... Odense University Hospital in Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being ... (fat) tissue. The results could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company ... to the medical community, has closed its Series A ... Nunez . "We have received a commitment ... capital we need to meet our current goals," stated ... us the runway to complete validation on the current ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... YORK , June 23, 2016 ... trading session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial ... S&P 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), ... Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more about ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... quality, regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar on Performing ... July 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are ...
Breaking Biology Technology: