Yang JH, Sakamoto H, Xu EC, Lee RT. 2000. Biomechanical regulation of human monocyte/macrophage molecular function. The American journal of pathology. 156(5):1797-804. Pubmed: 10793091


When the monocyte infiltrates a tissue, adhesion to the extracellular matrix provides structural anchors, and the cell may be deformed through these attachments. To test the hypothesis that human monocytes/macrophages are mechanically responsive, we studied the effects of small cyclic mechanical deformations on cultured human monocytes/macrophages. When monocytes/macrophages were subjected to 4% strain at 1 Hz for 24 hours, neither matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 nor MMP-3 was induced; however, in the presence of phorbol myristate acetate, strain augmented MMP-1 expression by 5.1 +/- 0.7-fold (P < 0.05) and MMP-3 expression by 1. 6 +/- 0.1-fold (P < 0.05). In contrast, MMP-9 expression was not changed by mechanical strain in the presence or absence of phorbol myristate acetate. Deformation rapidly induced the immediate early response genes c-fos and c-jun. In addition, mechanical deformation induced the transcription factor PU.1, an ets family member that is essential in monocyte differentiation, as well as mRNA for the M-CSF receptor. These studies demonstrate that human monocytes/macrophages respond to mechanical deformation with selective augmentation of MMPs, induction of immediate early genes, and induction of the M-CSF receptor. In addition to enhancing the proteolytic activity of macrophages within repairing tissues, cellular deformation within tissues may play a role in monocyte differentiation.

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Rich Lee seeks to understand heart failure and metabolic diseases that accompany human aging, and translate that understanding into therapies. Lee is an active clinician, regularly treating patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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