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
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.