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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2018 Mar 14;10(10):8417-8425. doi: 10.1021/acsami.7b12914. Epub 2018 Mar 2.

Quasi-Stem Cells Derived from Human Somatic Cells by Chemically Modified Carbon Nanotubes.

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Department of Molecular Science and Technology , Ajou University , Suwon 443-749 , Republic of Korea.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering , Northwestern University , 2220 Campus Drive , Evanston , Illinois 60208 , United States.
Predictive Model Research Center , Korea Institute of Toxicology , Daejeon 34114 , Republic of Korea.


Surface modification of micro- and nanotopography was employed to alter the surface properties of scaffolds for controlling cell attachment, proliferation, and differentiation. This study reports a method for generating multinucleated colonies as evidenced by spherical colony formation through nanotopography-induced expression of reprogramming factors in human dermal fibroblasts. Colony formation was achieved by subjecting the cells to specific environments such as culturing with single-walled carbon nanotubes and poly-l-lysine (PLL-SWCNTs). We obtained encouraging results showing that PLL-SWCNT treatment transformed fibroblast cells, and the transformed cells expressed the pluripotency-associated factors OCT4, NANOG, and SOX2 in addition to TRA-1-60 and SSEA-4, which are characteristic stem cell markers. Downregulation of lamin A/C, HDAC1, HDAC6, Bcl2, cytochrome c, p-FAK, p-ERK, and p-JNK and upregulation of H3K4me3 and p-p38 were confirmed in the generated colonies, indicating reprogramming of cells. This protocol increases the possibility of successfully reprogramming somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), thereby overcoming the difficulties in iPSC generation such as genetic mutations, carcinogenesis, and undetermined risk factors.


carbon nanotube; colony formation; nanotopography; quasi-stem cell; stem cell reprogramming factor

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