Cell motility and mechanics in three-dimensional collagen matrices

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

269 Scopus citations


Fibrous connective tissues provide mechanical support and frameworks for other tissues of the body and play an integral role in normal tissue physiology and pathology. Three-dimensional collagen matrices exhibit mechanical and structural features that resemble fibrous connective tissue and have become an important model system to study cell behavior in a tissue-like environment. This review focuses on motile and mechanical interactions between cells-especially fibroblasts-and collagen matrices. We describe several matrix contraction models, the interactions between fibroblasts and collagen fibrils at global and subcellular levels, unique features of mechanical feedback between cells and the matrix, and the impact of the cell-matrix tension state on cell morphology andmechanical behavior.We develop a conceptual framework to explain the balance between cellmigration and collagen translocation including the concept of promigratory and procontractile growth factor environments. Finally, we review the significance of these concepts for the physiology of wound repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-361
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Nov 10 2010


  • Rho GTPases
  • biomechanics
  • extracellular matrix remodeling
  • tensional homeostasis
  • tissue engineering
  • wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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