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Gene. 2007 Apr 15;391(1-2):1-15. Epub 2007 Jan 31.

Mechanoregulation of gene expression in fibroblasts.

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MechanoBiology Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, 210 Lothrop St., BST, E1640, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Mechanical loads placed on connective tissues alter gene expression in fibroblasts through mechanotransduction mechanisms by which cells convert mechanical signals into cellular biological events, such as gene expression of extracellular matrix components (e.g., collagen). This mechanical regulation of ECM gene expression affords maintenance of connective tissue homeostasis. However, mechanical loads can also interfere with homeostatic cellular gene expression and consequently cause the pathogenesis of connective tissue diseases such as tendinopathy and osteoarthritis. Therefore, the regulation of gene expression by mechanical loads is closely related to connective tissue physiology and pathology. This article reviews the effects of various mechanical loading conditions on gene regulation in fibroblasts and discusses several mechanotransduction mechanisms. Future research directions in mechanoregulation of gene expression are also suggested.

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