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Macromol Biosci. 2011 Jan 10;11(1):36-49. doi: 10.1002/mabi.201000245. Epub 2010 Oct 21.

Reconstructing the differentiation niche of embryonic stem cells using biomaterials.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Johns Hopkins Physical Sciences-Oncology Center and Institute for NanoBioTechnology, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21210, USA.


The biochemical cues and topographical architecture of the extracellular environment extensively influence ES cell fate. The microenvironment surrounding the developing embryo presents these instructive cues in a complex and interactive manner in order to guide cell fate decisions. Current stem cell research aims to reconstruct this multifaceted embryonic niche to recapitulate development in vitro. This review focuses on 2D and 3D differentiation niches created from natural and synthetic biomaterials to guide the differentiation of ES cells toward specific lineages. Biomaterials engineered to present specific physical constraints are also reviewed for their role in differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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