Model of cell-to-cell adhesion will aid artificial tissue creation
New York University physicists have developed an oil-in-water solution, with surface properties that mimic those of biological cells. Specifically, adhesion between compressed oil droplets mimics the mechanical properties of tissues and could be used in numerous practical applications, from biocompatible cosmetics to artificial tissues. Cell-to-cell adhesion is crucial to the integrity of tissues -- cells must stick together to ensure tissue cohesion. However, the complexity of biological systems has prevented their description using general, physical theoretical concepts. So, the research team designed a biomimetic solution reproducing the main features of cell adhesion. By varying the amount of force compressing the droplets of oil and the amount of salt, the NYU team was able to isolate the optimal cell adhesion conditions, leading to adhesion between contacting droplets covering all the interfaces, just like in biological tissues.