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Sci. Signal., 11 March 2008
Vol. 1, Issue 10, p. pe13
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.110pe13]


Matrix Elasticity, Cytoskeletal Tension, and TGF-β: The Insoluble and Soluble Meet

Rebecca G. Wells1 and Dennis E. Discher2*

1Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
2Biophysical Engineering Lab, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Abstract: Soluble growth factors are potent regulators of normal and pathological processes. Mechanical factors are emerging as similarly important, but there has been no obvious mechanism linking the different factors. A recent report now demonstrates that cell-generated mechanical tension results in release of active transforming growth factor–β from stiff extracellular matrix, providing a mechanism for differentiation and maintenance of myofibroblasts in processes like fibrosis. More broadly, the work suggests that matrix stiffness could regulate the equilibrium between storage and release of a host of matrix-bound growth factors.

*Corresponding author. E-mail, discher{at}

Citation: R. G. Wells, D. E. Discher, Matrix Elasticity, Cytoskeletal Tension, and TGF-β: The Insoluble and Soluble Meet. Sci. Signal. 1, pe13 (2008).

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