Directing stem cell fate on hydrogel substrates by controlling cell geometry, matrix mechanics and adhesion ligand composition

Junmin Lee, Amr A. Abdeen, Douglas Zhang, Kristopher A. Kilian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is a dynamic relationship between physical and biochemical signals presented in the stem cell microenvironment to guide cell fate determination. Model systems that modulate cell geometry, substrate stiffness or matrix composition have proved useful in exploring how these signals influence stem cell fate. However, the interplay between these physical and biochemical cues during differentiation remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate a microengineering strategy to vary single cell geometry and the composition of adhesion ligands - on substrates that approximate the mechanical properties of soft tissues - to study adipogenesis and neurogenesis in adherent mesenchymal stem cells. Cells cultured in small circular islands show elevated expression of adipogenesis markers while cells that spread in anisotropic geometries tend to express elevated neurogenic markers. Arraying different combinations of matrix protein in a myriad of 2D and pseudo-3D geometries reveals optimal microenvironments for controlling the differentiation of stem cells to these "soft" lineages without the use of media supplements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8140-8148
Number of pages9
JournalBiomaterials
Volume34
Issue number33
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Keywords

  • Differentiation
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Microcontact printing
  • Microenvironment
  • Polyacrylamide hydrogels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials

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