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Mechanics rules cell biology

James HC Wang1* and Bin Li23

Author Affiliations

1 MechanoBiology Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 210 Lothrop St, BST E1640, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

2 Orthopedic Institute, Soochow University, 708 Renmin Rd, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215007, China

3 Department of Orthopedics, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, 188 Shizi St, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215006, China

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Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation, Therapy & Technology 2010, 2:16  doi:10.1186/1758-2555-2-16

Published: 8 July 2010


Cells in the musculoskeletal system are subjected to various mechanical forces in vivo. Years of research have shown that these mechanical forces, including tension and compression, greatly influence various cellular functions such as gene expression, cell proliferation and differentiation, and secretion of matrix proteins. Cells also use mechanotransduction mechanisms to convert mechanical signals into a cascade of cellular and molecular events. This mini-review provides an overview of cell mechanobiology to highlight the notion that mechanics, mainly in the form of mechanical forces, dictates cell behaviors in terms of both cellular mechanobiological responses and mechanotransduction.