Extracellular matrix stiffness influences tissue
growth and changes in function by modulating cell contractility.
For example, as stiffness increases in connective tissue, the cells
of a normal breast duct (panel 1, left) start to behave aberrantly,
causing the structure of the duct to degrade (panel 2, center),
as the uncontrolled cell growth of duct-lining cells invade the
duct tube (panel 3, right).
Credit: Matthew Naszek, University of Pennsylvania School of
Medicine; Cell Press