Aysegul Dede Eren, Steven Vermeulen, Tara C Schmitz, Jasper Foolen, Jan de Boer
Cells and their surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) are engaged in dynamic reciprocity to maintain tissue homeostasis: cells deposit ECM, which in turn presents the signals that define cell identity. This loop of phenotype is obvious for biochemical signals, such as collagens, which are produced by and presented to cells, but the role of biomechanical signals is also increasingly recognised. In addition, cell shape goes hand in hand with cell function and tissue homeostasis. Aberrant cell shape and ECM is seen in pathological conditions, and control of cell shape in micro-fabricated platforms disclose the causal relationship between cell shape and cell function, often mediated by mechanotransduction. In this manuscript, we discuss the loop of phenotype for tendon tissue homeostasis. We describe cell shape and ECM organization in normal and diseased tissue, how ECM composition influences tenocyte shape, and how that leads to the activation of signal transduction pathways and ECM deposition. We further describe the use of technologies to control cell shape to elucidate the link between cell shape and its phenotypical markers and focus on the causal role of cell shape in the loop of phenotype.
Statement of significance
The dynamic reciprocity between cells and their surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) influences biomechanical and biochemical properties of ECM as well as cell function through activation of signal transduction pathways that regulate gene and protein expression. We refer to this reciprocity as Loop of Phenotype and it has been studied and demonstrated extensively by using micro-fabricated platforms to manipulate cell shape and cell fate. In this manuscript, we discuss this concept in tendon tissue homeostasis by giving examples in healthy and pathological tenson tissue. Furthermore, we elaborate this by showing how biomaterials are used to feed this reciprocity to manipulate cell shape and function. Finally, we elucidate the link between cell shape and its phenotypical markers and focus on the activation of signal transduction pathways and ECM deposition.
Full Access Link: Acta Biomaterialia