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Open Access Differentiation of Stem Cells: Strategies for Modifying Surface Biomaterials

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Stem cells are a natural choice for cellular therapy because of their potential to differentiate into a variety of lineages, their capacity for self-renewal in the repair of damaged organs and tissues in vivo, and their ability to generate tissue constructs in vitro. Determining how to efficiently drive stem cell differentiation to a lineage of choice is critical for the success of cellular therapeutics. Many factors are involved in this process, the extracellular microenvironment playing a significant role in controlling cellular behavior. In recent years, researchers have focused on identifying a variety of biomaterials to provide a microenvironment that is conducive to stem cell growth and differentiation and that ultimately mimics the in vivo situation. Appropriate biomaterials support the cellular attachment, proliferation, and lineage-specific differentiation of stem cells. Tissue engineering approaches have been used to incorporate growth factors and morphogenetic factors—factors known to induce lineage commitment of stem cells—into cultures with scaffolding materials, including synthetic and naturally derived biomaterials. This review focuses on various strategies that have been used in stem cell expansion and examines modifications of natural and synthetic materials, as well as various culture conditions, for the maintenance and lineage-specific differentiation of embryonic and adult stem cells.
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Keywords: Biomaterials; Extracellular matrix (ECM); Stem cells; Tissue engineering

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Neuropsychiatry, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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