Previous studies demonstrated that mechanical forces affect a wide range of cellular behaviors. These forces regulate important cellular responses in the human body and consist of gravity, hydrostatic pressure, stretch, and shear stress, which is exerted on the vascular system by the passage of blood flow. We reasoned that these forces might be significant and dynamic regulators of cellular functions within the human body. While cellular effects of stretch and shear stress have been studied particularly with endothelial cells, little is known about the effects of gravity and hydrostatic pressure to cells. To examine the direct effect of hydrostatic pressure, we developed a culture device to confer hydrostatic pressures to cells ranging from 0 to 1,000 psi. We subjected human neuroblastoma cells and rIL-2-activated lymphocytes to a constant pressure of 20 or 100 psi for 48 h and attempted to identify genes regulated by hydrostatic pressure. Genes of regulator of G-protein signaling 5 in neuroblastoma cells and CHC1-L in lymphocytes increased after exposure to hydrostatic pressure. The results demonstrated that hydrostatic pressure directly regulates the expression of specific genes in mammalian cells. Moreover, there may be some underlying mechanisms that have common effects in altered physical environments. Our in vitro culture system may provide some insight into the mechanisms through the intracellular processes affected by mechanical forces.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel