Send to

Choose Destination
World J Stem Cells. 2013 Oct 26;5(4):124-35. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v5.i4.124.

Engineering stem cell niches in bioreactors.

Author information

Meimei Liu, Ning Liu, Ru Zang, Shang-Tian Yang, William G Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, United States.


Stem cells, including embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells and amniotic fluid stem cells have the potential to be expanded and differentiated into various cell types in the body. Efficient differentiation of stem cells with the desired tissue-specific function is critical for stem cell-based cell therapy, tissue engineering, drug discovery and disease modeling. Bioreactors provide a great platform to regulate the stem cell microenvironment, known as "niches", to impact stem cell fate decision. The niche factors include the regulatory factors such as oxygen, extracellular matrix (synthetic and decellularized), paracrine/autocrine signaling and physical forces (i.e., mechanical force, electrical force and flow shear). The use of novel bioreactors with precise control and recapitulation of niche factors through modulating reactor operation parameters can enable efficient stem cell expansion and differentiation. Recently, the development of microfluidic devices and microbioreactors also provides powerful tools to manipulate the stem cell microenvironment by adjusting flow rate and cytokine gradients. In general, bioreactor engineering can be used to better modulate stem cell niches critical for stem cell expansion, differentiation and applications as novel cell-based biomedicines. This paper reviews important factors that can be more precisely controlled in bioreactors and their effects on stem cell engineering.


Bioreactor; Differentiation; Microenvironment; Microfluidics; Stem cell engineering

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center