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Open Access Forever Young: How to Control the Elongation, Differentiation, and Proliferation of Cells Using Nanotechnology

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Within the emerging field of stem cells there is a need for an environment that can regulate cell activity, to slow down differentiation or proliferation, in vitro or in vivo while remaining invisible to the immune system. By creating a nanoenvironment surrounding PC12 cells, Schwann cells, and neural precursor cells (NPCs), we were able to control the proliferation, elongation, differentiation, and maturation in vitro. We extended the method, using self-assembling nanofiber scaffold (SAPNS), to living animals with implants in the brain and spinal cord. Here we show that when cells are placed in a defined system we can delay their proliferation, differentiation, and maturation depending on the density of the cell population, density of the matrix, and the local environment. A combination of SAPNS and young cells can be implanted into the central nervous system (CNS), eliminating the need for immunosuppressants.

Keywords: Brain; Growth control; Nanotechnology; Neural precursors; PC12; Regeneration; Schwann cells; Self-assembling nanofiber scaffold (SAPNS); Spinal cord; Stem cells; Tissue engineering

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Anatomy, The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China; State Key Lab for Brain & Cognitive Sciences, The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China; Research Centre of Heart, Brain, Hormone and Healthy Aging, The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China; Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA. rutledge@hkucc

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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