Hyaluronan Physically Mediates Cell Adhesion
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Cell adhesion is the fundamental process underlying all basic life processes. While structures that enhance cell adhesion strength, such as focal adhesions, have been widely characterized, influences decreasing cell adhesion strength have yet to be explored. Hyaluronan (HA), a ubiquitous polymer in extracellular matrices, is hypothesized to physically repulse cells from surfaces. Increased and specific production of HA has been recorded during events such as cell migration, cell proliferation, and tumor metastasis, which indicate HA may play a critical role in increasing cell motility. The primary objective of this work is to quantify the physical influence of HA polymers on cell adhesion strength. Using a hydrodynamic spinning disc assay, average cell adhesion strength will be quantified for various cell types, including rat chondrocytes and prostate cancer cells, in both the presence and absence HA. A more comprehensive understanding of factors influencing cell adhesion dynamics may elucidate targets for new therapeutic approaches for diseases such as cancer. The results of this study demonstrate that following HA removal, cell adhesion strength increases, and FA area does not significantly increase. This demonstrates that HA does play a significant role in influencing cell adhesion strength in both physiological and pathophysiological systems. Therefore, HA may be a potent target for future therapeutics in diseases that involve cell adhesion dysregulation.