Water volume steers stem cells to become bone or fat

Adding or removing water from a stem cell can direct them toward becoming either bone or fat, researchers report.

Altering the volume of a cell changed its internal dynamics, including the rigidness of the matrix lining the outer surface. In stem cells, removing water condenses the cell, influencing the stem cells to become stiff pre-bone cells, while adding water causes the cells to swell, forming soft pre-fat cells.

Researchers have long understood that stem cells are influenced by the cells around them, picking up cues on what their function should be based on the stiffness of the matrices of neighboring cells.

Full story at Futurity.org