Canadian Biomaterials Society
Société Canadienne des Biomatériaux

Revisiting tissue tensegrity: Biomaterial-based approaches to measure forces across length scales

Journal: APL Bioengineering
Authors: Christina Boghdady - Stephanie Mok - Christopher Moraes Nikita Kalashnikov, Luke McCaffrey

Cell-generated forces play a foundational role in tissue dynamics and homeostasis and are critically important in several biological processes, including cell migration, wound healing, morphogenesis, and cancer metastasis. Quantifying such forces in vivo is technically challenging and requires novel strategies that capture mechanical information across molecular, cellular, and tissue length scales, while allowing these studies to be performed in physiologically realistic biological models. Advanced biomaterials can be designed to non-destructively measure these stresses in vitro, and here, we review mechanical characterizations and force-sensing biomaterial-based technologies to provide insight into the mechanical nature of tissue processes. We specifically and uniquely focus on the use of these techniques to identify characteristics of cell and tissue “tensegrity:” the hierarchical and modular interplay between tension and compression that provide biological tissues with remarkable mechanical properties and behaviors. Based on these observed patterns, we highlight and discuss the emerging role of tensegrity at multiple length scales in tissue dynamics from homeostasis, to morphogenesis, to pathological dysfunction.

Year: 2021

Volume: 5

PP: 41501

Christina Boghdady

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