Differential response of patient-derived primary glioblastoma cells to environmental stiffness

Thomas James Grundy, Ellen De Leon, Kaitlyn Rose Griffin, Brett William Stringer, Bryan William Day, Ben Fabry, Justin Cooper-White, Geraldine Margaret O'Neill

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The ability of cancer cells to sense external mechanical forces has emerged as a significant factor in the promotion of cancer invasion. Currently there are conflicting reports in the literature with regard to whether glioblastoma (GBM) brain cancer cell migration and invasion is rigidity-sensitive. In order to address this question we have compared the rigidity-response of primary patient-derived GBM lines. Cells were plated on polyacrylamide gels of defined rigidity that reflect the diversity of the brain tissue mechanical environment, and cell morphology and migration were analysed by time-lapse microscopy. Invasiveness was assessed in multicellular spheroids embedded in 3D matrigel cultures. Our data reveal a range of rigidity-dependent responses between the patient-derived cell lines, from reduced migration on the most compliant tissue stiffness to those that are insensitive to substrate rigidity and are equally migratory irrespective of the underlying substrate stiffness. Notably, the rigidity-insensitive GBM cells show the greatest invasive capacity in soft 3D matrigel cultures. Collectively our data confirm both rigidity-dependent and independent behaviour in primary GBM patient-derived cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23353
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


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