They hope that their “surprising discovery” could enable in vitro culture of organs, which might be a humane alternative to animal experimentation:
How do our cells organize themselves to give their final shape to our organs? The answer lies in morphogenesis, the set of mechanisms that regulate their distribution in space during embryonic development. A team from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) has just made a surprising discovery in this field: when a tissue curves, the volume of the cells that compose it increases instead of decreasing. This discovery opens new avenues for in vitro organ culture, a partial alternative to animal experimentation.Université De Genève, “Our cells take their ease in the curves” at Eurekalert (May 13, 2022)
In a recent study, Professor Roux’s team investigated how the cells that make up a tissue react and adapt when it is bent. By rolling a monolayer of cells in vitro, which is a compact, flat assembly of cells arranged next to each other, the UNIGE scientists made a counterintuitive discovery. “We found that the volume of cells located in the curvature increased by about 50% after five minutes instead of decreasing, and then returned to normal within 30 minutes,” explains Aurélien Roux, the last author of this study. This is the opposite of what can be observed when bending an elastic material.
By bending this “sheet” of cells, similar to the one that makes up our skin, the researchers noticed more precisely that the latter swelled to take the shape of small domes. “The fact that this increase in volume is staggered in time and transient also shows that it is an active and living system,” adds Caterina Tomba, first author of the study and former researcher in the Department of Biochemistry at the UNIGE.Université De Genève, “Our cells take their ease in the curves” at Eurekalert (May 13, 2022)
“The fact that this increase in volume is staggered in time and transient also shows that it is an active and living system,” adds a researcher.
Once again, we are expected to believe that such a system can just develop in a gradual Darwinian fashion.
The paper is open access.
You may also wish to read: In embryos, we are told, “nothing is left to chance in the ‘seating plan’ for the first few cells.” “Nothing is left to chance” even in cell spacing in worm eggs but we are told there is no design behind the universe?