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Specific mechanical behaviours of healthy and cancer cells via a new model for cells and actin networks

Alireza Shahin-Shamsabadi, Mahnaz Eskandari


Understanding the viscoelastic nature of the cells and their response to the mechanical stimuli provides the knowledge to analyse some behaviours of the cells. Although different elements of the cell are important for its mechanical properties but experimental data highlights actin cytoskeleton as the most important element. In this study, experimental data from previous studies including storage and loss moduli of different actin networks, networks with different cross-linkers or without them, and also creep behaviour of different cells are extracted to propose a new model. This newly presented model provides an insight to the viscoelastic properties of both actin networks and cells which are closely related to each other. It can be pointed out that the ability of this model to define the relations between concentration of actin or its cross-linkers and the adjustable parameters of the model, makes it a generic model. This model could be used to explain different mechanical behaviours of the healthy and cancer cells, including the decrease in the stiffness of the cancer cells, in terms of the changes in cross-linkers’ concentration. From biomechanical view, changes in actin cross-linkers’ concentration or type is one of the most important variations in cancer cells during their malignant transformation, which greatly affects their behaviours such as extracellular matrix detachment, deformability, and mobility. The knowledge of these dis-regulations of cancer tissue could be useful in their prediction, diagnosis, and treatment.

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