Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are promising cell sources for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Scaffolds for ESC-based tissue regeneration should provide not only structural support, but also signals capable of supporting appropriate cell differentiation and tissue development. Extracellular matrix (ECM) is a key component of the stem cell niche in vivo and can influence stem cell fate via mediating cell attachment and migration, presenting chemical and physical cues, as well as binding soluble factors. Here we investigated the effects of combinatorial extracellular matrix proteins on controlled human ESC (hESC) differentiation. Varying ECM compositions in 3D markedly affects cell behavior, and optimal compositions of ECM hydrogels are identified that facilitate specific-lineage differentiation of stem cells. To our knowledge, this is the first combinatorial analysis of ECM hydrogels for their effects on hESC differentiation in 3D. The 3D matrices described herein may provide a useful platform for studying the interactive ECM signaling in influencing stem cell differentiation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry