Fibroblasts in three dimensional matrices: cell migration and matrix remodeling

Exp Mol Med. 2009 Dec 31;41(12):858-65. doi: 10.3858/emm.2009.41.12.096.


Fibroblast-collagen matrix culture has facilitated the analysis of cell physiology under conditions that more closely resemble an in vivo-like environment compared to conventional 2-dimensional (2D) cell culture. Furthermore, it has led to significant progress in understanding reciprocal and adaptive interactions between fibroblasts and the collagen matrix, which occur in tissue. Recent studies on fibroblasts in 3-dimensional (3D) collagen matrices have revealed the importance of biomechanical conditions in addition to biochemical cues for cell signaling and migration. Depending on the surrounding mechanical conditions, cells utilize specific cytoskeletal proteins to adapt to their environment. More specifically, cells utilize microtubule dependent dendritic extensions to provide mechanical structure for matrix contraction under a low cell-matrix tension state, whereas cells in a high cell-matrix tension state utilize conventional acto-myosin activity for matrix remodeling. Results of collagen matrix contraction and cell migration in a 3D collagen matrix revealed that the use of appropriate growth factors led to promigratory and procontractile activity for cultured fibroblasts. Finally, the relationship between cell migration and tractional force for matrix remodeling was discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Movement
  • Collagen / chemistry*
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*


  • Collagen