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Michel Moussus

Mechanical forces within endothelium

Published on 5 February 2014

Thesis presented February 05, 2014

Abstract :
Vascular dysfunction or injury induced by aging, smoking, inflammation, trauma, hyperlipidaemia are among a myriad of risk factors that contribute to the pathogenesis of many cardiovascular diseases. An important objective in vascular biology is to understand cellular processes that promote or protect against cardiovascular diseases. This pathogenesis is very closely associated with dysfunction of the inner face of the vessel wall. The inner face of the vessel wall is lined by a monolayer of endothelial cells forming the vascular endothelium. Reparation of the endothelium involves remodeling of focal adhesions​ (FA) and adherent junctions (AJ). Modifications in the protein composition of these adhesive structures generate forces at the basis of endothelium remodeling and reparation. In the literature, cellular forces are studied on single cells, epithelial cell doublets or cell aggregates in growth but mechanical forces inside tissues remains to be characterized. In this thesis, we use traction force microscopy (TFM) on polyacrylamide substrates to study the mechanical equilibrium between intercellular junctions and cell/substrate adhesion. We analyze to which extent TFM can be used for studying monolayers and present a novel approach to extract contractile forces exerted by an endothelial tissue. Finally, we use this methodology to characterize forces transmitted to the substrate and the contractile forces of endothelial monolayers. This method provides an interesting tool to study the contribution of some proteins of the adherent junctions to force transmission within the endothelium.

Endothelium, microfabrication, Traction Force Microscopy

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