Ann Conkle
May 17, 2012

Making or breaking cellular tissues

A model developed to study liquids is being used to investigate the mechanics of cellular tissues, which could further our understanding of embryonic development and cancer. In a study about to be published, physicists from the Curie Institute in Paris have demonstrated that the behavior of a thin layer of cells is akin to that of thin fluid or elastic films, when placed in contact with an unfavorable substrate. The researchers stressed the cell layer and observed its reaction, in an effort to understanding the mechanism by which a thin layer of cells splits into disjointed patches. Understanding how  the layer’s structural integrity breaks is important because the epithelium, the human tissue covering organs, can only fulfil its role if there are no holes or gaps between the cells.