Dynamic Stress Fiber Reorganization on Stretched Matrices
Cells in various tissues throughout the body sense and respond to deformation of their surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM). Some examples include cyclic loading of endothelial and smooth muscle cells in the arterial wall, chronic loading of broblasts during expansion-induced skin growth,1 and transient loading of broblasts in tendons during muscle contractions. In each of these examples, tensile forces acting at a macroscopic level are transmitted to the local pericellular environment to regulate a number of cellular events, including proliferation, differentiation, and gene expression. These cellular responses are necessary to facilitate the adaptation of tissues to these loads to contribute to tissue homeostasis or dysfunction.