Defects in dendritic spines and synapses contribute to cognitive deficits in mental retardation syndromes and, potentially, Alzheimer disease. p21-activated kinases (PAKs) regulate actin filaments and morphogenesis of dendritic spines regulated by the Rho family GTPases Rac and Cdc42. We previously reported that active PAK was markedly reduced in Alzheimer disease cytosol, accompanied by downstream loss of the spine actin-regulatory protein Drebrin. beta-Amyloid (Abeta) oligomer was implicated in PAK defects.
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.