Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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On Solid Ground
28 August 2017

On Solid Ground

A beachside ambler strolling along the soft sand looks quite different to the strained and stretched out limbs of a rock climber on a sheer face. What’s beneath us affects how we move. The same is true of cells. Researchers looked at how immune cells, called T cells, reacted on surfaces of differing stiffness – of the kind that can be found within the human body. They found the stiffest surfaces caused T cells to become more active, multiply, and produce more signalling chemicals. Using scanning electron microscopy (pictured) they found T cells on increasingly stiff surfaces (left to right) extended projections along the surface that were thicker and wider. These clues to how T cells respond to changing stiffness could prove helpful in understanding how they combat disease and infection, where inflamed tissues are often more rigid.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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