Mechanical stretch modulates cell migration in the lungs

Cecilia López-Martínez, Covadonga Huidobro, Guillermo M. Albaiceta, Inés López-Alonso


Cell migration is a core process to preserve homeostasis. Release of chemotactic signals induces changes in cell cytoskeleton to facilitate migration. This includes the rearrangement of cytoskeleton, genomic reprogramming and the modification of the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) to allow the motion of cells through. In the special case of repair after acute lung injury, cells must migrate while exposed to an increased mechanical stretch caused either by an increased work of breathing or positive-pressure ventilation. Interestingly, the cell response to this increased mechanical load can modify virtually all the mechanisms involved in cell migration. In this review we explore the interplay between stretch and the machinery responsible for cell migration. A translational approach to find new therapies in acute lung injury must take into account these interactions in order to develop effective treatments that promote lung repair.