Biomechanical stimuli have fundamental roles in the maintenance and remodeling of ligaments including collagen gene expressions. Mechanical stretching signals are mainly transduced by cell adhesion molecules such as integrins. However, the relationships between stress-induced collagen expressions and integrin-mediated cellular behaviors are still unclear in anterior cruciate ligament cells. Here, we focused on the stretch-related responses of different cells derived from the ligament-to-bone interface and midsubstance regions of human anterior cruciate ligaments. Chondroblastic interface cells easily lost their potential to produce collagen genes in non-stretched conditions, rather than fibroblastic midsubstance cells. Uni-axial mechanical stretches increased the type I collagen gene expression of interface and midsubstance cells up to 14- and 6-fold levels of each non-stretched control, respectively. Mechanical stretches also activated the stress fiber formation by shifting the distribution of integrin αVβ3 to the peripheral edges in both interface and midsubstance cells. In addition, integrin αVβ3 colocalized with phosphorylated focal adhesion kinase in stretched cells. Functional blocking analyses using anti-integrin antibodies revealed that the stretch-activated collagen gene expressions on fibronectin were dependent on integrin αVβ3-mediated cellular adhesions in the interface and midsubstance cells. These findings suggest that the integrin αVβ3-mediated stretch signal transduction might have a key role to stimulate collagen gene expression in human anterior cruciate ligament, especially in the ligament-to-bone interface.
Journal of Biomechanics
Elsevier Sci Ltd.
© 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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