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Publications of the Week

β1 Integrin, ILK and mTOR Regulate Collagen Synthesis in Mechanically Loaded Tendon Cells

By August 14, 2020No Comments

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This week we profile a recent publication in Scientific Reports from Dr. Rouhollah Mousavizadeh
(pictured) in the laboratory of Dr. Alex Scott at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility at UBC.

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

Tendons are specialized anatomical structures composed of dense and loose connective tissues, responsible for transmitting high levels of force between muscle and bone. Our lab is currently focused on how various conditions — overuse injuries, aging, and dyslipidemia — impair tendons’ load capacity. On the other hand, we want to study how tendon load capacity can be improved, especially by exercise.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

We discovered that tendon cells respond to mechanical stimuli via integrins. Integrin β1 and integrin-linked kinase (ILK) transmit mechanical stimuli from the membrane of tendon cells to activate mTOR/AKT signalling pathway. This pathway is critical for mRNA translation and synthesis of collagen, a fundamental component of tendon structure. Our model shows the importance of mTOR/AKT signalling on tendon development and adaptation to exercise and mechanical loading.

What are the next steps for this research?

Next, we plan to examine whether conditions that result in reduced tendon capacity, such as exposure to oxidized LDL or to physiological levels of estrogen, are influencing the mechanotransduction response in human tendon cells. We would like to examine the effect of these factors on the activity of mTOR/AKT signalling pathway during the mechanical stimulation of tendon cells.

This work was funded by:

CIHR project grant, NSERC discovery grant.

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