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Issue 31, 2017
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Influence of microenvironment topography and stiffness on the mechanics and motility of normal and cancer renal cells

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Abstract

The tumor microenvironment highly influences cancer cell modes and dynamics, above all during invasive and metastatic processes. When aiming at studying cancer cell behavior in vitro, the use of conventional cell culture systems, such as Petri dishes, fails in recapitulating the mechanical and topographical properties of the natural extracellular matrix (ECM). Here the versatility of stiffness-tunable hydrogels and the efficacy of the replica molding technique with silicone polymers are exploited, aiming at studying cancer and normal cell behavior with platforms able to capture the heterogeneities of the natural in vivo context. We compared the mechanical properties of normal and cancer renal cells on different stiffness value gels (with Young's moduli of 3, 17 and 31 kPa) by using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and investigated cell indentation phenomena on compliant gels with confocal microscopy. Moreover, we studied cell mechanics, morphology and migration on isotropic linear structures, spaced at 1.5 μm, aiming at mimicking the aligned fiber bundles typically observed at tumor borders. By using this approach, we could highlight differences in the way healthy and cancer renal cells react to changes in their microenvironment. Our results may potentially pave the way to unravel the complex processes involved in cancer progression, especially in tissue invasion and migration during metastasis formation.

Graphical abstract: Influence of microenvironment topography and stiffness on the mechanics and motility of normal and cancer renal cells

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Publication details

The article was received on 25 Apr 2017, accepted on 04 Jul 2017 and first published on 06 Jul 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR02940C
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017,9, 11222-11230
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    Influence of microenvironment topography and stiffness on the mechanics and motility of normal and cancer renal cells

    C. Rianna and M. Radmacher, Nanoscale, 2017, 9, 11222
    DOI: 10.1039/C7NR02940C

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