Biological and mechanical interplay at the Macro- and Microscales Modulates the Cell-Niche Fate

Udi Sarig, Hadar Sarig, Aleksander Gora, Muthu Kumar Krishnamoorthi, Gigi Chi Ting Au-Yeung, Elio De-Berardinis, Su Yin Chaw, Priyadarshini Mhaisalkar, Hanumakumar Bogireddi, Seeram Ramakrishna, Freddy Yin Chiang Boey, Subbu S. Venkatraman, Marcelle Machluf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Tissue development, regeneration, or de-novo tissue engineering in-vitro, are based on reciprocal cell-niche interactions. Early tissue formation mechanisms, however, remain largely unknown given complex in-vivo multifactoriality, and limited tools to effectively characterize and correlate specific micro-scaled bio-mechanical interplay. We developed a unique model system, based on decellularized porcine cardiac extracellular matrices (pcECMs) - as representative natural soft-tissue biomaterial - to study a spectrum of common cell-niche interactions. Model monocultures and 1:1 co-cultures on the pcECM of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) were mechano-biologically characterized using macro- (Instron), and micro- (AFM) mechanical testing, histology, SEM and molecular biology aspects using RT-PCR arrays. The obtained data was analyzed using developed statistics, principal component and gene-set analyses tools. Our results indicated biomechanical cell-type dependency, bi-modal elasticity distributions at the micron cell-ECM interaction level, and corresponding differing gene expression profiles. We further show that hMSCs remodel the ECM, HUVECs enable ECM tissue-specific recognition, and their co-cultures synergistically contribute to tissue integration - mimicking conserved developmental pathways. We also suggest novel quantifiable measures as indicators of tissue assembly and integration. This work may benefit basic and translational research in materials science, developmental biology, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and cancer biomechanics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3937
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


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