Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 133, Issue 4, pp 405–415 | Cite as

Tissue stretch induces nuclear remodeling in connective tissue fibroblasts

  • Helene M. LangevinEmail author
  • Kirsten N. Storch
  • Robert R. Snapp
  • Nicole A. Bouffard
  • Gary J. Badger
  • Alan K. Howe
  • Douglas J. Taatjes
Original Paper


Studies in cultured cells have shown that nuclear shape is an important factor influencing nuclear function, and that mechanical forces applied to the cell can directly affect nuclear shape. In a previous study, we demonstrated that stretching of whole mouse subcutaneous tissue causes dynamic cytoskeletal remodeling with perinuclear redistribution of α-actin in fibroblasts within the tissue. We have further shown that the nuclei of these fibroblasts have deep invaginations containing α-actin. In the current study, we hypothesized that tissue stretch would cause nuclear remodeling with a reduced amount of nuclear invagination, measurable as a change in nuclear concavity. Subcutaneous areolar connective tissue samples were excised from 28 mice and randomized to either tissue stretch or no stretch for 30 min, then examined with histochemistry and confocal microscopy. In stretched tissue (vs. non-stretched), fibroblast nuclei had a larger cross-sectional area (P < 0.001), smaller thickness (P < 0.03) in the plane of the tissue, and smaller relative concavity (P < 0.005) indicating an increase in nuclear convexity. The stretch-induced loss of invaginations may have important influences on gene expression, RNA trafficking and/or cell differentiation.


Cytoskeleton Subcutaneous Nucleus Mechanotransduction Invagination 



The authors thank Drs. Nicholas Heintz and William C. Eanrshaw for helpful discussions. This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine research Grant RO1-AT01121 and by National Institutes of Health Grant P20 RR16435 from the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence Program of the National Center for Research Resources. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

Conflict of interest statement

Helene M. Langevin is a partner of Stromatec, Inc.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helene M. Langevin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kirsten N. Storch
    • 1
  • Robert R. Snapp
    • 3
  • Nicole A. Bouffard
    • 1
  • Gary J. Badger
    • 4
  • Alan K. Howe
    • 5
  • Douglas J. Taatjes
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity of Vermont College of MedicineBurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedics and RehabilitationUniversity of Vermont College of MedicineBurlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Medical BiostatisticsUniversity of Vermont College of MedicineBurlingtonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Pharmacology, Vermont Cancer CenterUniversity of Vermont College of MedicineBurlingtonUSA
  6. 6.Department of PathologyUniversity of Vermont College of MedicineBurlingtonUSA

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