Nanomaterial scaffolds for stem cell proliferation and differentiation in tissue engineering
Tissue engineering is a clinically driven field and has emerged as a potential alternative to organ transplantation. The cornerstone of successful tissue engineering rests upon two essential elements: cells and scaffolds. Recently, it was found that stem cells have unique capabilities of self-renewal and multilineage differentiation to serve as a versatile cell source, while nanomaterials have lately emerged as promising candidates in producing scaffolds able to better mimic the nanostructure in natural extracellular matrix and to efficiently replace defective tissues. This article, therefore, reviews the key developments in tissue engineering, where the combination of stem cells and nanomaterial scaffolds has been utilized over the past several years. We consider the high potential, as well as the main issues related to the application of stem cells and nanomaterial scaffolds for a range of tissues including bone, cartilage, nerve, liver, eye etc. Promising in vitro results such as efficient attachment, proliferation and differentiation of stem cells have been compiled in a series of examples involving different nanomaterials. Furthermore, the merits of the marriage of stem cells and nanomaterial scaffolds are also demonstrated in vivo, providing early successes to support subsequent clinical investigations. This progress simultaneously drives mechanistic research into the mechanotransduction process responsible for the observations in order to optimize the process further. Current understanding is chiefly reported to involve the interaction of stem cells and the anchoring nanomaterial scaffolds by activating various signaling pathways. Substrate surface characteristics and scaffold bulk properties are also reported to influence not only short term stem cell adhesion, spreading and proliferation, but also longer term lineage differentiation, functionalization and viability. It is expected that the combination of stem cells and nanomaterials will develop into an important tool in tissue engineering for the innovative treatment of many diseases.
► The cornerstone of successful tissue engineering rests upon stem cells and scaffolds. ► Stem cell proliferation and differentiation depend on the scaffold's characteristics. ► The molecular mechanisms between stem cells and scaffold involve mechanotransduction. ► Stem cells and nanomaterials will become the future treatment for many diseases.
Journal: Biotechnology Advances - Volume 31, Issue 5, September–October 2013, Pages 654–668