Actin cytoskeletal stress fibers are thought to be the major cellular constituents responsible for cell shape and locomotion. As such, stress fiber remodeling likely plays a major role in the cell reorientation responses to mechanical stimuli (Iba and Sumpio, 1991). The assembly and dis-assembly of stress fibers in non-muscle cells are mediated by contractility via the interaction of actin and myosin (Chrzanowska-Wodnicka and Burridge, 1996). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) also play an important role in organization of stress fibers (Hinshaw et al., 1991). Since cyclic stretching can enhance production of certain ROS, including H2O2 (Howard et al., 1997) and H2O2 stimulates, in a time- and dose-dependent manner, myosin light chain (MLC) phosphorylation (Zhao and Davis, 1998), stress fiber remodeling and cell reorientation in response to cyclic stretching should be affected by changes in contractility — including changes in ROS. The roles of these factors have not been carefully examined.

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