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Relative Rigidity of Cell-Substrate Affects Hepatic and Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cell Migration



Martin Y. Chiang, Hongbing Wang, Li Zhong, Qiaoyan Tan, Gurinder K. Singh, Song Li, Li Yang, Yanzi Yangben


Polyacrylamide gels with different stiffness and glass were employed as substrates to investigate how substrate stiffness affects the cellular stiffness of adherent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCCLM3) and hepatic (L02) cells. The interaction of how cell-substrate stiffness influences cell migration was also explored. An atom force microscope measured the stiffness of HCCLM3 and L02 cells on different substrates. Further, F-actin assembly was analyzed using immunofluorescence and western blots. Finally, cell surface expression of integrin β1 was quantified by flow cytometry. The results show that while both HCCLM3 and L02 cells adjusted their cell stiffness to comply with the stiffness of the substrate they were adhered to, their tuning capabilities were different. HCCLM3 cell stiffness complied when substrate stiffness was between 1.1 and 33.7 kPa, whereas the analogous stiffness for L02 cells occurred at a higher substrate stiffness, 3.6 kPa up to glass. These ranges correlated with F-actin filament assembly and integrin β1 expression. In a migration assay, HCCLM3 cells migrated faster on a relatively soft substrate, while L02 cells migrated faster on substrates that were relatively rigid. These findings indicate that different tuning capabilities of HCCLM3 and L02 cells may influence cell migration velocity on substrates with different stiffness by regulating cytoskeleton remodeling and integrin β1 expression.
Journal of Biomaterials Science Polymer Edition


relative cell-substrate stiffness, cytoskeleton assembly, integrin ß1 expression, cell migration, adaptation range, hepatic carcinoma cells


Chiang, M. , Wang, H. , Zhong, L. , Tan, Q. , K., G. , Li, S. , Yang, L. and Yangben, Y. (2012), Relative Rigidity of Cell-Substrate Affects Hepatic and Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cell Migration, Journal of Biomaterials Science Polymer Edition, [online], (Accessed June 24, 2024)


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Created December 3, 2012, Updated March 28, 2017