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Three-dimensional traction forces of Schwann cells on compliant substrates.

ABSTRACT: The mechanical interaction between Schwann cells (SCs) and their microenvironment is crucial for the development, maintenance and repair of the peripheral nervous system. In this paper, we present a detailed investigation on the mechanosensitivity of SCs across a physiologically relevant substrate stiffness range. Contrary to many other cell types, we find that the SC spreading area and cytoskeletal actin architecture were relatively insensitive to substrate stiffness with pronounced stress fibre formation across all moduli tested (0.24-4.80 kPa). Consistent with the presence of stress fibres, we found that SCs generated large surface tractions on stiff substrates and large, finite material deformations on soft substrates. When quantifying the three-dimensional characteristics of the SC traction profiles, we observed a significant contribution from the out-of-plane traction component, locally giving rise to rotational moments similar to those observed in mesenchymal embryonic fibroblasts. Taken together, these measurements provide the first set of quantitative biophysical metrics of how SCs interact with their physical microenvironment, which are anticipated to aid in the development of tissue engineering scaffolds designed to promote functional integration of SCs into post-injury in vivo environments.

SUBMITTER: Lopez-Fagundo C 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4208357 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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