Fluid shear stress coupled with narrow constrictions induce cell type-dependent morphological and molecular changes in SK-BR-3 and MDA-MB-231 cells

Nom de la revue
Scientific Reports
Hamizah Ahmad Cognart, Jean-Louis Viovy, Catherine Villard

AbstractCancer mortality mainly arises from metastases, due to cells that escape from a primary tumor, circulate in the blood as circulating tumor cells (CTCs), permeate across blood vessels and nest in distant organs. It is still unclear how CTCs overcome the harsh conditions of fluid shear stress and mechanical constraints within the microcirculation. Here, a minimal model of the blood microcirculation was established through the fabrication of microfluidic channels comprising constrictions. Metastatic breast cancer cells of epithelial-like and mesenchymal-like phenotypes were flowed into the microfluidic device. These cells were visualized during circulation and analyzed for their dynamical behavior, revealing long-lived plastic deformations and significant differences in biomechanics between cell types. γ-H2AX staining of cells retrieved post-circulation showed significant increase of DNA damage response in epithelial-like SK-BR-3 cells, while gene expression analysis of key regulators of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition revealed significant changes upon circulation. This work thus documents first results of the changes at the cellular, subcellular and molecular scales induced by the two main mechanical stimuli arising from circulatory conditions, and suggest a significant role of this still elusive step of the metastatic cascade in cancer cells heterogeneity and aggressiveness.