Squeezing cells can accelerate division and growth

  The closer people are, the more opportunities there are to exchange ideas and information. And the distance between cells is close, there will be “chemical reactions”. A new study by MIT and Boston Children’s Hospital found that physically squeezing cells and their contents can make cells grow and divide faster than normal. This research has opened up new ideas for organoid culture and regenerative medicine organ transplantation. Related papers were recently published online in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
  Although squeezing an organism to grow it sounds counter-intuitive, the research team explained that the effect of squeezing is to “twist” out the water in the cells, so that proteins and other cellular components are also packed more closely together. At the same time, proteins can accumulate along specific signaling pathways to help cells maintain a stem cell state, so cells can grow and divide quickly.
  Ming Guo (transliteration), associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, and his colleagues cultivated human colon organoids in a petri dish and “squeezed” the organoids by injecting polymer into the petri dish. The injection of polymer increases the osmotic pressure around each organoid, forcing the water in the cells to flow out. Researchers have observed that specific proteins involved in activating the Wnt pathway are tightly packed and are more likely to activate the signaling pathway and its genes that regulate growth.
  The results of the study show that those squeezed organoids grow larger and faster than those that are not squeezed, and there are more stem cells on their surface. This proves that squeezing does affect the growth of organoids, and the behavior of cells may change depending on how much water they contain.
  Guo Ming said that simply squeezing the cells to promote their “stem cellization” can guide the cells to quickly cultivate organoids, such as artificial intestines and colons. This not only provides us with research on organ function and testing of candidate drugs for various diseases. The approach can also be applied to organ transplantation in regenerative medicine.
  In the future, researchers will continue to explore cell “squeezing” as a way to accelerate the growth of organoids. They may also use these artificial organs to test new personalized medicines.