Nuclear softening expedites interstitial cell migration in fibrous networks and dense connective tissues

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Science Advances  19 Jun 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 25, eaax5083
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax5083


Dense matrices impede interstitial cell migration and subsequent repair. We hypothesized that nuclear stiffness is a limiting factor in migration and posited that repair could be expedited by transiently decreasing nuclear stiffness. To test this, we interrogated the interstitial migratory capacity of adult meniscal cells through dense fibrous networks and adult tissue before and after nuclear softening via the application of a histone deacetylase inhibitor, Trichostatin A (TSA) or knockdown of the filamentous nuclear protein Lamin A/C. Our results show that transient softening of the nucleus improves migration through microporous membranes, electrospun fibrous matrices, and tissue sections and that nuclear properties and cell function recover after treatment. We also showed that biomaterial delivery of TSA promoted in vivo cellularization of scaffolds by endogenous cells. By addressing the inherent limitations to repair imposed by nuclear stiffness, this work defines a new strategy to promote the repair of damaged dense connective tissues.

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