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J Tissue Eng. 2010 Aug 18;2010:120623. doi: 10.4061/2010/120623.

Nanotopographical control of stem cell differentiation.

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Centre for Cell Engineering, Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland.


Stem cells have the capacity to differentiate into various lineages, and the ability to reliably direct stem cell fate determination would have tremendous potential for basic research and clinical therapy. Nanotopography provides a useful tool for guiding differentiation, as the features are more durable than surface chemistry and can be modified in size and shape to suit the desired application. In this paper, nanotopography is examined as a means to guide differentiation, and its application is described in the context of different subsets of stem cells, with a particular focus on skeletal (mesenchymal) stem cells. To address the mechanistic basis underlying the topographical effects on stem cells, the likely contributions of indirect (biochemical signal-mediated) and direct (force-mediated) mechanotransduction are discussed. Data from proteomic research is also outlined in relation to topography-mediated fate determination, as this approach provides insight into the global molecular changes at the level of the functional effectors.

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