Local mechanical stimulation of mardin-darby canine kidney cell sheets on temperature-responsive hydrogel.

Harada I, Yanagisawa S, Iwasaki K, Cho CS, Akaike T.

Int J Mol Sci.  ||  2012  ||  January
 ||  Research article


Collective motion of cell sheets plays a role not only in development and repair, but also in devastating diseases such as cancer. However, unlike single-cell motility, collective motion of cell sheets involves complex cell-cell communication during migration; therefore, its mechanism is largely unknown. To elucidate propagation of signaling transduced by cell-cell interaction, we designed a hydrogel substrate that can cause local mechanical stretching of cell sheets. Poly (N-isopropyl acrylamide) (PNIPAAm) hydrogel is a temperature-responsive polymer gel whose volume changes isotropically in response to temperature changes below 37 °C. We designed a combined hydrogel substrate consisting of collagen-immobilized PNIPAAm as the local stimulation side and polyacrylamide (PAAm) as the non-stimulation side to assess propagation of mechanical transduction. Mardin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells adhered to the collagen-immobilized PNIPAAm gel increased it area and were flattened as the gel swelled with temperature decrease. E-cadherin in these cells became undetectable in some domains, and actin stress fibers were more clearly observed at the cell base. In contrast, E-cadherin in cells adhered to the collagen-immobilized PAAm side was equally stained as that in cells adhered to the collagen-immobilized PAAm side even after temperature decrease. ERK1/2 MAPK activation of cells on the non-stimulated substrate occurred after partial stretching of the cell sheet suggesting the propagation of signaling. These results indicate that a change in the balance of mechanical tension induced by partial stretching of cell sheets leads to activation and propagation of the cell signaling.