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PLoS One. 2011 Jan 5;6(1):e15978. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015978.

Stiffness gradients mimicking in vivo tissue variation regulate mesenchymal stem cell fate.

Author information

1
Department of Bioengineering, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, United States of America.

Abstract

Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation is regulated in part by tissue stiffness, yet MSCs can often encounter stiffness gradients within tissues caused by pathological, e.g., myocardial infarction ∼8.7±1.5 kPa/mm, or normal tissue variation, e.g., myocardium ∼0.6±0.9 kPa/mm; since migration predominantly occurs through physiological rather than pathological gradients, it is not clear whether MSC differentiate or migrate first. MSCs cultured up to 21 days on a hydrogel containing a physiological gradient of 1.0±0.1 kPa/mm undergo directed migration, or durotaxis, up stiffness gradients rather than remain stationary. Temporal assessment of morphology and differentiation markers indicates that MSCs migrate to stiffer matrix and then differentiate into a more contractile myogenic phenotype. In those cells migrating from soft to stiff regions however, phenotype is not completely determined by the stiff hydrogel as some cells retain expression of a neural marker. These data may indicate that stiffness variation, not just stiffness alone, can be an important regulator of MSC behavior.

PMID:
21246050
PMCID:
PMC3016411
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0015978
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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