Authors Teixeira, A. I. ; Hermanson, O. ; Werner, C.
Title Designing and engineering stem cell niches
Date 24.08.2010
Number 23242
Abstract Stem cells have received a lot of attention due to great promises in medical treatment, for example, by replacing lost and sick cells and re-constituting cell populations. There are several classes of stem cells, including embryonic, fetal, and adult tissue specific. More recently, the generation of so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from differentiated cells has been established. Common criteria for all types of stem cells include their ability to self-renew and to retain their ability to differentiate in response to specific cues. These characteristics, as well as the instructive steering of the cells into differentiation, are largely dependent on the microenvironment surrounding the cells. Such “stem cell friendly” microenvironments, provided by structural and biochemical components, are often referred to as niches. Biomaterials offer attractive solutions to engineer functional stem cell niches and to steer stem cell state and fate in vitro as well as in vivo. Among materials used so far, promising results have been achieved with low-toxicity and biodegradable polymers, such as polyglycolic acid and related materials, as well as other polymers used as structural “scaffolds” for engineering of extracellular matrix components. To improve the efficiency of stem cell control and the design of the biomaterials, interfaces among stem cell research, developmental biology, regenerative medicine, chemical engineering, and materials research are rapidly developing. Here we provide an introduction to stem cell biology and principles of niche engineering and give an overview of recent advancements in stem cell niche engineering from two stem cell systems—blood and brain.
Publisher MRS Bulletin
Citation MRS Bulletin 35 (2010) 591-596

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