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Neuronal differentiations by nanoscale surface interactions

D. Cecchin, M.V. Flores-Merino, G.C. Reilly, A.J. Engler, G. Battaglia
The University of Sheffield, UK

Keywords: nanoscale surface interactions, embryonic stem cells, neuronal differentiations


Biomedical researchers have become increasingly aware of the limitations of conventional 2-dimensional tissue cell culture systems. Cells in most tissues reside in microenvironments surrounded with specific three-dimensional features, such as the microenvironment, gradient diffusion, cell migration and cell-cell contact interactions. All of these features are given by the extracellular matrix (ECM), with which cells interact. Often, the ECM includes topography at the nanoscale, which has significant effects on cellular behavior [2]. To understand the influence of the nanoscale morphology on cells differentiation we propose the use of acrylic acid (AAC) functionalized poly (vinil-pyrrolidone) (PVP) hydrogels [1]. The resultant PVP-AAC hydrogel is being seeded with Ntera2 clone D1 human terathocarcinoma embryonic stem cells [4]. The cells adhesion on a soft scaffold should direct them to a neuronal differentiation [5]. This is due to the mechanotransduction property of the scaffold because it is similar to the natural matrix [3]. The presence of typical cell surface antigen will be analyzed by indirect immunofluorescence assay by cytofluorimetry. Their gene expression is being quantified by qPCR, as well. This knowledge enables us to develop a generation of biomaterials that can tailor the stem cell fate and functioning to impact specific laboratory and therapeutic applications.
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