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Nat Mater. 2007 Dec;6(12):997-1003. Epub 2007 Sep 23.

The control of human mesenchymal cell differentiation using nanoscale symmetry and disorder.

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  • 1Centre for Cell Engineering, Joseph Black Building, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.


A key tenet of bone tissue engineering is the development of scaffold materials that can stimulate stem cell differentiation in the absence of chemical treatment to become osteoblasts without compromising material properties. At present, conventional implant materials fail owing to encapsulation by soft tissue, rather than direct bone bonding. Here, we demonstrate the use of nanoscale disorder to stimulate human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to produce bone mineral in vitro, in the absence of osteogenic supplements. This approach has similar efficiency to that of cells cultured with osteogenic media. In addition, the current studies show that topographically treated MSCs have a distinct differentiation profile compared with those treated with osteogenic media, which has implications for cell therapies.

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