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Eur Cell Mater. 2010 Oct 5;20:231-44.

Micropatterned hydrogenated amorphous carbon guides mesenchymal stem cells towards neuronal differentiation.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, Section of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Perugia, Italy.


This study investigated how the design of surface topography may stimulate stem cell differentiation towards a neural lineage. To this end, hydrogenated amorphous carbon (a-C:H) groove topographies with width/spacing ridges ranging from 80/40μm, 40/30μm and 30/20μm and depth of 24 nm were used as a single mechanotransducer stimulus to generate neural cells from human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBM-MSCs) in vitro. As comparative experiments, soluble brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was used as additional biochemical inducer agent. Despite simultaneous presence of a-C:H micropatterned nanoridges and soluble BDNF resulted in the highest percentage of neuronal-like differentiated cells our findings demonstrate that the surface topography with micropatterned nanoridge width/spacing of 40/30μm (single stimulus) induced hBM-MSCs to acquire neuronal characteristics in the absence of differentiating agents. On the other hand, the alternative a-C:H ridge dimensions tested failed to induce stem cell differentiation towards neuronal properties, thereby suggesting the occurrence of a mechanotransducer effect exerted by optimal nano/microstructure dimensions on the hBM-MSCs responses.

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