We propose a mathematical model to suggest a unified explanation behind the observation that some cell types tend to spread more efficiently on stiff substrates and are able to adapt their internal stiffness to the external stiffness. Our model also offers an explanation regarding the dependence of cell spreading on cell type. We show that our model for stiffness adaptation is in good agreement with experimental data. We also apply our model to calculate the energy of traction on bulk substrates as well as thin coatings, thereby extracting estimates of critical coating thickness as a function of cell type and coating bulk modulus.
Raghavan, S., Rammohan, A. R., & Hervy, M. (2013). Modeling the Impact of Cell Type and Substrate Stiffness on Cell Traction. Open Journal of Biophysics, 03(04), 222–231. https://doi.org/10.4236/ojbiphy.2013.34028