Unique biomechanical interactions between myeloma cells and bone marrow stroma cells

Yongdong Feng, Gidon Ofek, Dong Soon Choi, Jianguo Wen, Jerry Hu, Hong Zhao, Youli Zu, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou, Chung Che Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We observed that BMSCs (bone marrow stromal cells) from myeloma patients (myeloma BMSCs) were significantly stiffer than control BMSCs using a cytocompression device. The stiffness of myeloma BMSCs and control BMSCs was further increased upon priming by myeloma cells. Additionally, myeloma cells became stiffer when primed by myeloma BMSCs. The focal adhesion kinase activity of myeloma cells was increased when cells were on stiffer collagen gels and on myeloma BMSCs. This change in myeloma stiffness is associated with increased colony formation of myeloma cells and FAK activation when co-cultured with stiffer myeloma BMSCs or stiffer collagen. Additionally, stem cells of RPMI8226 cells became stiffer after priming by myeloma BMSCs, with concomitant increases of stem cell colony formation. These results suggest the presence of a mechanotransduction loop between myeloma cells and myeloma BMSCs to increase the stiffness of both types of cells via FAK activation. The increase of stiffness may in turn support the growth of myeloma cells and myeloma stem cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-156
Number of pages9
JournalProgress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Bone marrow stroma cell
  • Myeloma
  • Niche
  • Stiffness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biophysics


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