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Histochem Cell Biol. 2010 Apr;133(4):405-15. doi: 10.1007/s00418-010-0680-3. Epub 2010 Mar 18.

Tissue stretch induces nuclear remodeling in connective tissue fibroblasts.

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Department of Neurology, University of Vermont College of Medicine, 89 Beaumont Ave, Burlington, VT, 05405, USA.


Studies in cultured cells have shown that nuclear shape is an important factor influencing nuclear function, and that mechanical forces applied to the cell can directly affect nuclear shape. In a previous study, we demonstrated that stretching of whole mouse subcutaneous tissue causes dynamic cytoskeletal remodeling with perinuclear redistribution of alpha-actin in fibroblasts within the tissue. We have further shown that the nuclei of these fibroblasts have deep invaginations containing alpha-actin. In the current study, we hypothesized that tissue stretch would cause nuclear remodeling with a reduced amount of nuclear invagination, measurable as a change in nuclear concavity. Subcutaneous areolar connective tissue samples were excised from 28 mice and randomized to either tissue stretch or no stretch for 30 min, then examined with histochemistry and confocal microscopy. In stretched tissue (vs. non-stretched), fibroblast nuclei had a larger cross-sectional area (P < 0.001), smaller thickness (P < 0.03) in the plane of the tissue, and smaller relative concavity (P < 0.005) indicating an increase in nuclear convexity. The stretch-induced loss of invaginations may have important influences on gene expression, RNA trafficking and/or cell differentiation.

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