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Phys Biol. 2011 Dec;8(6):066008. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/8/6/066008. Epub 2011 Nov 25.

Mechano-sensing and cell migration: a 3D model approach.

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Aragón Institute of Engineering Research (I3A), University of Zaragoza, Spain.


Cell migration is essential for tissue development in different physiological and pathological conditions. It is a complex process orchestrated by chemistry, biological factors, microstructure and surrounding mechanical properties. Focusing on the mechanical interactions, cells do not only exert forces on the matrix that surrounds them, but they also sense and react to mechanical cues in a process called mechano-sensing. Here, we hypothesize the involvement of mechano-sensing in the regulation of directional cell migration through a three-dimensional (3D) matrix. For this purpose, we develop a 3D numerical model of individual cell migration, which incorporates the mechano-sensing process of the cell as the main mechanism regulating its movement. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that factors, such as substrate stiffness, boundary conditions and external forces, regulate specific and distinct cell movements.

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