This title appears in the Scientific Report : 2015 

The Acinar Cage: Basement Membranes Determine Molecule Exchange and Mechanical Stability of Human Breast Cell Acini
Gaiko-Shcherbak, Aljona
Fabris, Gloria / Dreissen, Georg / Merkel, Rudolf / Hoffmann, Bernd / Noetzel, Erik (Corresponding author)
Biomechanik; ICS-7
PLoS one, 10 (2015) 12, S. e0145174 -
Lawrence, Kan. PLoS 2015
Journal Article
Engineering Cell Function
Please use the identifier: in citations.
Please use the identifier: in citations.
The biophysical properties of the basement membrane that surrounds human breast glands are poorly understood, but are thought to be decisive for normal organ function and malignancy. Here, we characterize the breast gland basement membrane with a focus on molecule permeation and mechanical stability, both crucial for organ function. We used well-established and nature-mimicking MCF10A acini as 3D cell model for human breast glands, with ether low- or highly-developed basement membrane scaffolds. Semi-quantitative dextran tracer (3 to 40 kDa) experiments allowed us to investigate the basement membrane scaffold as a molecule diffusion barrier in human breast acini in vitro. We demonstrated that molecule permeation correlated positively with macromolecule size and intriguingly also with basement membrane development state, revealing a pore size of at least 9 nm. Notably, an intact collagen IV mesh proved to be essential for this permeation function. Furthermore, we performed ultra-sensitive atomic force microscopy to quantify the response of native breast acini and of decellularized basement membrane shells against mechanical indentation. We found a clear correlation between increasing acinar force resistance and basement membrane formation stage. Most important native acini with highly-developed basement membranes as well as cell-free basement membrane shells could both withstand physiologically relevant loads (≤ 20 nN) without loss of structural integrity. In contrast, low-developed basement membranes were significantly softer and more fragile. In conclusion, our study emphasizes the key role of the basement membrane as conductor of acinar molecule influx and mechanical stability of human breast glands, which are fundamental for normal organ function.