Fibroblast cytoskeletal remodeling contributes to connective tissue tension

The visco-elastic behavior of connective tissue is generally attributed to the material properties of the extracellular matrix rather than cellular activity. We have previously shown that fibroblasts within areolar connective tissue exhibit dynamic cytoskeletal remodeling within minutes in response to tissue stretch ex vivo and in vivo. Here, we tested the hypothesis that fibroblasts, through this cytoskeletal remodeling, actively contribute to the visco-elastic behavior of the whole tissue. We measured significantly increased tissue tension when cellular function was broadly inhibited by sodium azide and when cytoskeletal dynamics were compromised by disrupting microtubules (with colchicine) or actomyosin contractility (via Rho kinase inhibition). These treatments led to a decrease in cell body cross-sectional area and cell field perimeter (obtained by joining the end of all of a fibroblast's processes). Suppressing lamellipodia formation by inhibiting Rac-1 decreased cell body cross-sectional area but did not affect cell field perimeter or tissue tension. Thus, by changing shape, fibroblasts can dynamically modulate the visco-elastic behavior of areolar connective tissue through Rho-dependent cytoskeletal mechanisms. These results have broad implications for our understanding of the dynamic interplay of forces between fibroblasts and their surrounding matrix, as well as for the neural, vascular, and immune cell populations residing within connective tissue.

Langevin, Helene M.
Bouffard, Nicole A.
Fox, James R.
Palmer, Bradley M.
Wu, Junru
Iatridis, James C.
Barnes, William D.
Badger, Gary J.
Howe, Alan K.
Item Type: 
Journal Article
Publication Title: 
Journal of Cellular Physiology
Journal Abbreviation: 
J. Cell. Physiol.
Publication Date: 
May 2011
Publication Year: 
Library Catalog: 
NCBI Published Medical (?)
PMID: 20945345 PMCID: PMC3053527

Turabian/Chicago Citation

Helene M. Langevin, Nicole A. Bouffard, James R. Fox, Bradley M. Palmer, Junru Wu, James C. Iatridis, William D. Barnes, Gary J. Badger and Alan K. Howe. May 2011. "Fibroblast cytoskeletal remodeling contributes to connective tissue tension." Journal of Cellular Physiology 226: 5: 1166-1175. 10.1002/jcp.22442.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = 10.1002/jcp.22442 | issn = 1097-4652 | volume = 226 | pages = 1166-1175 | last = Langevin | first = Helene M. | coauthors = Bouffard, Nicole A., Fox, James R., Palmer, Bradley M., Wu, Junru, Iatridis, James C., Barnes, William D., Badger, Gary J., Howe, Alan K. | title = Fibroblast cytoskeletal remodeling contributes to connective tissue tension | journal = Journal of Cellular Physiology | date = May 2011 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>