Impact loading of articular cartilage causes extensive chondrocyte death. Cell membranes have a limited elastic range of 3-4% strain but are protected from direct stretch during physiological loading by their membrane reservoir, an intricate pattern of membrane folds. Using a finite-element model, we suggested previously that access to the membrane reservoir is strain-rate-dependent and that during impact loading, the accessible membrane reservoir is drastically decreased, so that strains applied to chondrocytes are directly transferred to cell membranes, which fail when strains exceed 3-4%. However, experimental support for this proposal is lacking. The purpose of this study was to measure the accessible membrane reservoir size for different membrane strain rates using membrane tethering techniques with atomic force microscopy. We conducted atomic force spectroscopy on isolated chondrocytes (n = 87). A micron-sized cantilever was used to extract membrane tethers from cell surfaces at constant pulling rates. Membrane tethers could be identified as force plateaus in the resulting force-displacement curves. Six pulling rates were tested (1, 5, 10, 20, 40, and 80 μm/s). The size of the membrane reservoir, represented by the membrane tether surface areas, decreased exponentially with increasing pulling rates. The current results support our theoretical findings that chondrocytes exposed to impact loading die because of membrane ruptures caused by high tensile membrane strain rates.
Previous molecular dynamic simulations have reported elongation of the existing beta-sheet in prion proteins. Detailed examination has shown that these elongations do not extend beyond the proline residues flanking these beta-sheets. In addition, proline has also been suggested to possess a possible structural role in preserving protein interaction sites by preventing invasion of neighboring secondary structures. In this work, we have studied the possible structural role of the flanking proline residues by simulating mutant structures with alternate substitution of the proline residues with valine. Simulations showed a directional inhibition of elongation, with the elongation progressing in the direction of valine including evident inhibition of elongation by existing proline residues. This suggests that the flanking proline residues in prion proteins may have a containment role and would confine the beta-sheet within a specific length.
The growth of several biological tissues is known to be controlled in part by local geometrical features, such as the curvature of the tissue interface. This control leads to changes in tissue shape that in turn can affect the tissue's evolution. Understanding the cellular basis of this control is highly significant for bioscaffold tissue engineering, the evolution of bone microarchitecture, wound healing, and tumor growth. Although previous models have proposed geometrical relationships between tissue growth and curvature, the role of cell density and cell vigor remains poorly understood. We propose a cell-based mathematical model of tissue growth to investigate the systematic influence of curvature on the collective crowding or spreading of tissue-synthesizing cells induced by changes in local tissue surface area during the motion of the interface. Depending on the strength of diffusive damping, the model exhibits complex growth patterns such as undulating motion, efficient smoothing of irregularities, and the generation of cusps. We compare this model with in vitro experiments of tissue deposition in bioscaffolds of different geometries. By including the depletion of active cells, the model is able to capture both smoothing of initial substrate geometry and tissue deposition slowdown as observed experimentally.