Published on April 27, 2010 at 6:19 AM
"This collaboration enabled us to quantify the role that mechanics plays in angiogenesis at the cellular level. We directly imaged and quantified the contraction these pericytes exerted to wrinkle the underlying membrane and examined how specific drugs amplified and mitigated this contractile force. These measurements allowed us to estimate how much pericytes contracted and stiffened the microvascular environment, sending mechanical signals to nearby cells," said co-senior author Krystyn J. Van Vliet, PhD, associate professor of materials science and engineering at MIT.
The researchers isolated pericytes, using criteria Herman helped develop, and applied them to a silicone membrane. With an atomic force microscope, researchers at MIT measured the stiffness of the contracting pericytes and the consequent degree of wrinkling the pericytes caused in the membrane. Pericytes generated contractions that caused underlying membranes to shorten by an average of 38 percent.
Source: Tufts University, Health Sciences