Sculpting organs: mechanical regulation of tissue development

Annu Rev Biomed Eng. 2012:14:129-54. doi: 10.1146/annurev-bioeng-071811-150043. Epub 2012 Apr 18.


The ramified architectures of organs such as the mammary gland and lung are generated via branching morphogenesis, a developmental process through which individual cells bud and pinch off of pre-existing epithelial sheets. Although specified by signaling programs, organ development requires integration of all aspects of the microenvironment. We describe the essential role of endogenous cellular contractility in the formation of branching tubes. We also highlight the role of exogenous forces in normal and aberrant branching.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Engineering / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / growth & development
  • Mammary Glands, Human / growth & development
  • Models, Genetic
  • Morphogenesis / physiology
  • Organogenesis
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Engineering / methods