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Cell traction forces

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Cell traction forces

Aktin-Zytoskelett von humanen (rechts) und Rattenfibroblasten (links). Unterschiede in Zellmorphologie und Zytoskelettorganisation führen dazu, dass sich die auf die umgebende Matrix (Scaffold) wirkenden Zugkräften der Zellen unterscheiden.

Cell traction forces are involved in regeneration processes like wound closure and stabilization, but also tissue vascularization. They are a fundamental parameter in cell-material interaction. In this project we aim to better understand the role of cell traction forces in the formation of extracellular matrix structures and the hardly known interplay with extrinsic forces, e.g. resulting from cyclic mechanical loading. To do so, we utilize 3D macroporous scaffolds seeded with primary cells (e.g. fibroblasts, mesenchymal stromal cells), cultured, mechanically stimulated and tested for their mechanical properties in a bioreactor system. Using this approach, we are especially interested in the comparison of species (rat, sheep, human) and the impact of aging on cell mechanics. Furthermore we aim to understand the consequences of differences in cell mechanics for tissue formation and functionality. This also includes the investigation of the cell's ability to adapt or respond to changes in the mechanical environment (extrinsic loading). The results might help to gain a deeper understanding of mechanosensation and mechanoregulation in the interplay of extrinsic and intrinsic forces.