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Long fibroblast cytoplasmic extensions, purpose? (Picture included) - (Jul/29/2012 )

Hello everyone. I have a picture showing two fibroblasts in a 6 well plate seeded at a very low number to investigate colony formation. Medium is DMEM with 10 % FCS. As you can see, they project long extensions from their cytoplasma, and some of these reach out to other cells (not shown in picture). Can any of you explain to me what purpose these extensions and attachments serve?

I am not certain, but I believe the extensions which attach the fibroblasts to each other are remnants from cell division which keep the fibroblasts linked while they gradually migrate away from each other. This is simply based on my observations so far.


Long processes like that usually indicate that the cell is very unhappy. The processes are used for a number of things, not least of which is cell-cell "communication". Primary cells like to have company for the factors that other cells excrete, the processes are involved in keeping this "communication" active.


I agree.. These cytoplasmic extensions are sort of like a call for help, one cell trying to reach out to another. Since, you mentioned that you've seeded your wells with a very low cell density, your cells are unhappy. In order to stay healthy, cells need a lot of inter-cellular communication and therefore send out these projections to communicate with other cells.