Hydraulic and electric control of cell spheroids

Published in Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2021


We use a theoretical approach to examine the effect of a radial fluid flow or electric current on the growth and homeostasis of a cell spheroid. Such conditions may be generated by a drain of micrometric diameter. To perform this analysis, we describe the tissue as a continuum. We include active mechanical, electric, and hydraulic components in the tissue material properties. We consider a spherical geometry and study the effect of the drain on the dynamics of the cell aggregate. We show that a steady fluid flow or electric current imposed by the drain could be able to significantly change the spheroid long-time state. In particular, our work suggests that a growing spheroid can systematically be driven to a shrinking state if an appropriate external field is applied. Order-of-magnitude estimates suggest that such fields are of the order of the indigenous ones. Similarities and differences with the case of tumors and embryo development are briefly discussed.

Recommended citation: "Hydraulic and electric control of cell spheroids", C. Duclut, J. Prost, and F. Jülicher, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 118, e2021972118 (2021). http://www.pnas.org/lookup/doi/10.1073/pnas.2021972118

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