Imaging techniques show the 3D force exerted by small cell groups, A research team has developed a new technique that can be used to map the three-dimensional forces that are accumulated by surrounding human cells.

This method has the potential to help scientists better understand how tissue is formed, how to heal wounds, or how tumors spread.

We know that the way cell groups interact with their extracellular matrix is ​​important, and we want to understand the instructions that instruct these groups to organize themselves in architecture such as tissue or alternatively rearrange them as invasive tumors. Researcher said. Imaging techniques show the 3D force exerted by small cell groups.

This technique allows us to profile these mechanical interactions between cells and matrices in ways we could not before

The new technique uses Adhesive Force Microscopy (TFM), an imaging technique that is often used to study the forces exerted by individual cells.

To make TFM measurements, the researchers used cells in biomaterials that mimic extracellular matrices and contain thousands of tiny neon beads.

By tracking the movement of beads as cells move in the gel, researchers can record the way cells push, pull, and twist biomaterial in three dimensions.

The aim of this new technique is to perform TFM on multicellular clusters.

We know that tumors, for example, tend to be spatially heterogeneous, with cells behaving differently throughout the tumor, the researchers said. It is therefore important in the clinical context to clarify heterogeneous behavior in multi-cell clusters.

However, this is not easy. Cell groups that behave differently can quickly cause confusion and inaccurate analysis. One of the challenges of working with large 3D data sets is to present them in a format that is practical, fast, and easy to read. Imaging techniques show the 3D force exerted by small cell groups.

Leggett and his colleagues developed what they called the DART (Displacement Array Rended Traction), which practically divided the volume around each cluster into 16 different regions.

By mapping the forces that dominate each region to the DART board display, technology can capture the various forces that play in a cluster in an easily interpreted format.

This approach is similar to the representation of three-dimensional terrain features in public landscapes or tourist maps, according to the researchers.

This optimization enables the technique to simultaneously display multiple clusters stacked on 96-well cell culture plates. This high performance, which was previously impossible, made the technology even stronger, the researchers said.

To validate their method, the researchers processed groups of breast cells. In some groups, researchers have used drugs to stimulate the so-called epithelial transition to mesenchyme (EMT). This is a process in which compact and relatively obedient epithelial cells are transformed into elongated and highly mobile mesenchymal cells.

In the study, researchers were able to clearly identify potential signatures for the epithelial group, the mesenchymal group, and the transition group between the two. From there, the team can train machine learning algorithms that can be used to identify groups from each group.

The team said the technology could have various uses, from basic biological research to clinical cancer or precision medical research.

In principle, we can use this technique to look for models in any environment where cells must move in the extracellular matrix, the researchers say. Imaging techniques show the 3D force exerted by small cell groups.

This technique can be used to examine organoids, small cell groups whose architecture and function mimics the tissues and organs in the body.

This approach is based on the planting of primary human cells on a plate to filter personalized drug treatments. You can imagine isolating a patient’s cells from a tumor biopsy, breeding it on a 96-well plate, and then treating them with various drugs to determine whether they affect the migration and division of these cells, researchers say.