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J Nanomed Nanotechnol. 2014 Aug;5(4). pii: 217. Epub 2014 Aug 12.

Nanoengineered Platforms to Guide Pluripotent Stem Cell Fate.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 29208, USA.
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 29208, USA; Biomedical Engineering Program, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 29208, USA; Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, SC, 29209, USA.


Tissue engineering utilizes cells, signaling molecules, and scaffolds towards creating functional tissue to repair damaged organs. Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are a promising cell source due to their ability to self-renewal indefinitely and their potential to differentiate into almost any cell type. Great strides have been taken to parse the physiological mechanisms by which PSCs respond to their microenvironment and commit to a specific lineage. The combination of physical cues and chemical factors is thought to have the most profound influence on stem cell behavior, therefore a major focus of tissue engineering strategies is scaffold design to incorporate these signals. One overlooked component of the in vivo microenvironment researchers attempt to recapitulate with three dimensional (3D) substrates is the nanoarchitecture formed by the fibrillar network of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. These nanoscale features have the ability to impact cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, and lineage commitment. Significant advances have been made in deciphering how these nanoscale cues interact with stem cells to determine phenotype, but much is still unknown as to how the interplay between physical and chemical signals regulate in vitro and in vivo cellular fate. This review dives deeper to investigate nanoscale platforms for engineering tissue, as well use the use of these nanotechnologies to drive pluripotent stem cell lineage determination.


Cell shape; Embryonic stem cells; Induced pluripotent stem cells; Nanotechnology; Physical signals; Stem cell microenvironment; Surface topography

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