Cellular differentiation is a highly regulated process that has vast implications for the mechanics of the cell. The interplay between differentiation induced cytoskeletal mechanical changes and strain on the nucleus is a potential cause of gene level changes. This study explores mechanical changes in SH-SY5Y neural cells during differentiation mediated by Retinoic Acid (RA) across Days 0 through 9. Findings suggest that cellular elongation increases 1.92-fold over a 10-day differentiation period, from 48.97 ±16.85μm to 93.96 ± 31.20 μm over 3 repeated trials and across multiple cells analyzed on ImageJ. Nuclear elongation increases less substantially from 17.51 ± 2.71 μm to 23.26 ± 3.10 μm over 3 repeated trials and across multiple cells. Results are statistically significant at a significance level of α = 0.05. This study is one of the first studies to show that during the process of RA mediated neural differentiation in SH-SY5Y neural cells, nuclear elongation is initially not significantly correlated with cellular elongation, but it becomes correlated during the differentiation process with an overall correlation coefficient of 0.4498 at a significance level of α = 0.05. Given the time course of the mechanical changes and the known coupling between the cytoskeleton and nuclear lamina, this study suggests a causative and correlative relationship between neurite-driven cellular elongation and nuclear elongation during neural differentiation.
KEY WORDS: Cell Differentiation; Nucleus; Cytoskeleton; Cell Mechanics; Imaging.
BALASUBRAMANIAN, P. S. Nuclear elongation correlates with neurite induced cellular elongation during differentiation of sh-sy5y neural cells. Int. J. Morphol., 39(2):548-553, 2021.