The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a pericellular network of proteins and other molecules that provides mechanical support to organs and tissues. ECM biophysical properties such as topography, elasticity and porosity strongly influence cell proliferation, differentiation and migration. The cell’s perception of the biophysical microenvironment (mechanosensing) leads to altered gene expression or contractility status (mechanotransduction). Mechanosensing and mechanotransduction have profound implications in both tissue homeostasis and cancer. Many solid tumours are surrounded by a dense and aberrant ECM that disturbs normal cell functions and makes certain areas of the tumour inaccessible to therapeutic drugs. Understanding the cell-ECM interplay may therefore lead to novel and more effective therapies. Controllable and reproducible cell culturing systems mimicking the ECM enable detailed investigation of mechanosensing and mechanotransduction pathways. Here, we discuss ECM biomimetic systems. Mainly focusing on collagen, we compare and contrast structural and molecular complexity as well as biophysical properties of simple 2D substrates, 3D fibrillar collagen gels, cell-derived matrices and complex decellularized organs. Finally, we emphasize how the integration of advanced methodologies and computational methods with collagen-based biomimetics will improve the design of novel therapies aimed at targeting the biophysical and mechanical features of the tumour ECM to increase therapy efficacy.

Collagen-Based Biomimetic Systems to Study the Biophysical Tumour Microenvironment

Ventre, Maurizio
2022

Abstract

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a pericellular network of proteins and other molecules that provides mechanical support to organs and tissues. ECM biophysical properties such as topography, elasticity and porosity strongly influence cell proliferation, differentiation and migration. The cell’s perception of the biophysical microenvironment (mechanosensing) leads to altered gene expression or contractility status (mechanotransduction). Mechanosensing and mechanotransduction have profound implications in both tissue homeostasis and cancer. Many solid tumours are surrounded by a dense and aberrant ECM that disturbs normal cell functions and makes certain areas of the tumour inaccessible to therapeutic drugs. Understanding the cell-ECM interplay may therefore lead to novel and more effective therapies. Controllable and reproducible cell culturing systems mimicking the ECM enable detailed investigation of mechanosensing and mechanotransduction pathways. Here, we discuss ECM biomimetic systems. Mainly focusing on collagen, we compare and contrast structural and molecular complexity as well as biophysical properties of simple 2D substrates, 3D fibrillar collagen gels, cell-derived matrices and complex decellularized organs. Finally, we emphasize how the integration of advanced methodologies and computational methods with collagen-based biomimetics will improve the design of novel therapies aimed at targeting the biophysical and mechanical features of the tumour ECM to increase therapy efficacy.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/902943
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