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Open Access Environmental Biomechanics Substantiated by Defined Pillar Micropatterns Govern Behavior of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells

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While evidence on the impact of the biomechanical environment elasticity on human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) behavior is growing, the aspect of micropatterning is still poorly understood. Thus, the present study aimed at investigating the influence of defined environmental micropatterning on hMSC behavior. Following characterization, hMSCs were grown on defined pillar micropatterns of 5, 7, 9, and 11 µm. With respect to cell behavior, primary hMSC adhesion was detected by indirect immunofluorescence (iIF) for paxillin, vinculin, integrin αV, and actin, while proliferation was visualized by histone H3. Morphogenesis was monitored by scanning electron microscopy and the expression of stem cell-specific biomarkers by real-time PCR. Favoritism of primary adhesion of hMSCs on pillar tops occurred at smaller pillar micropatterns, concomitant with cell flattening. While vinculin, integrin αV, and paxillin appeared initially more cytoplasmic, high pillar micropatterns favored a progressive redistribution with polarization to cell tension sites and at cell borders. Accomplishment of morphogenesis at day 3 revealed establishment of fully rotund cell somata at 5 µm, while hMSCs appeared progressively elongated at rising micropatterns. The hMSC proliferation capacity was influenced by pillar micropatterns and gene expression analysis of stem cell- and differentiation-associated biomarkers disclosed clear modulation by distinct pillar micropatterns. In response to environmental biomechanics, our results show that hMSC behavior is governed by pillar micropatterning. In turn, these findings may form the basis to prospectively direct lineage specificity of hMSCs in a customized fashion.

Keywords: Biomechanics; Environmental micropattern; Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs); Pillar array

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-11-01

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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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