Mechanical boundary conditions bias fibroblast invasion in a collagen-fibrin wound model

Academic Article


  • Because fibroblasts deposit the collagen matrix that determines the mechanical integrity of scar tissue, altering fibroblast invasion could alter wound healing outcomes. Anisotropic mechanical boundary conditions (restraint, stretch, or tension) could affect the rate of fibroblast invasion, but their importance relative to the prototypical drivers of fibroblast infiltration during wound healing - cell and chemokine concentration gradients - is unknown. We tested whether anisotropic mechanical boundary conditions affected the directionality and speed of fibroblasts migrating into a three-dimensional model wound, which could simultaneously expose fibroblasts to mechanical, structural, steric, and chemical guidance cues. We created fibrin-filled slits in fibroblast-populated collagen gels and applied uniaxial mechanical restraint along the short or long axis of the fibrin wounds. Anisotropic mechanical conditions increased the efficiency of fibroblast invasion by guiding fibroblasts without increasing their migration speed. The migration behavior could be modeled as a biased random walk, where the bias due to multiple guidance cues was accounted for in the shape of a displacement orientation probability distribution. Taken together, modeling and experiments suggested an effect of strain anisotropy, rather than strain-induced fiber alignment, on fibroblast invasion. © 2014 Biophysical Society.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rouillard AD; Holmes JW
  • Start Page

  • 932
  • End Page

  • 943
  • Volume

  • 106
  • Issue

  • 4