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Eur Cell Mater. 2014 Nov 25;28:387-403.

Control of mesenchymal stem cell phenotype and differentiation depending on cell adhesion mechanism.

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Center for Biomaterials, Medical Engineering Institute, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul 136-79, Republic of


Control of cell-matrix adhesion has become an important issue in the regulation of stem cell function. In this study, a maltose-binding protein (MBP)-linked basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF2)-immobilised polystyrene surface (PS-MBP-FGF2) was applied as an artificial matrix to regulate integrin-mediated signalling. We sought to characterise human mesenchymal-stem cell (hMSC) behaviour in response to two different mechanisms of cell adhesion; (i) FGF2-heparan sulphate proteoglycan (HSPG)-mediated adhesion vs. (ii) fibronectin (FN)-integrin-mediated adhesion. Heparin inhibited hMSC adhesion to PS-MBP-FGF2 but not to FN-coated surface. The phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase, cytoskeletal re-organisation, and cell proliferation were restricted in hMSCs adhering to PS-MBP-FGF2 compared to FN-coated surface. Expression of MSC markers, such as CD105, CD90 and CD166, decreased in hMSCs expanded on PS-MBP-FGF2 compared to expression in cells expanded on FN-coated surface. hMSCs that were expanded on FN-coated surface differentiated into osteogenic and adipogenic cells more readily than those that were expanded on PS-MBP-FGF2. Furthermore, we characterised the N-linked glycan structures of hMSCs depending on the cell adhesion mechanism using mass spectrometry (MS)-based quantitative techniques. MS analysis revealed that 2,3-sialylated glycans, a potential marker of stem cell function, were more abundant on hMSCs expanded on FN-coated surface than on those expanded on PS-MBP-FGF2. Thus, the differentiation potential of hMSCs is controlled by the type of adhesion substrate that might provide an idea for the design of biomaterials to control stem cell fate. Elucidation of the glycan structure on the cell membrane may help characterise hMSC function.

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