Control of proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of human dental-pulp-derived stem cells by distinct surface structures

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The ability to control the behavior of stem cells provides crucial benefits, for example, in tissue engineering and toxicity/drug screening, which utilize the stem cell's capacity to engineer new tissues for regenerative purposes and the testing of new drugs in vitro. Recently, surface topography has been shown to influence stem cell differentiation; however, general trends are often difficult to establish due to differences in length scales, surface chemistries and detailed surface topographies. Here we apply a highly versatile screening approach to analyze the interplay of surface topographical parameters on cell attachment, morphology, proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal dental-pulp-derived stem cells (DPSCs) cultured with and without osteogenic differentiation factors in the medium (ODM). Increasing the inter-pillar gap size from 1 to 6μm for surfaces with small pillar sizes of 1 and 2μm resulted in decreased proliferation and in more elongated cells with long pseudopodial protrusions. The same alterations of pillar topography, up to an inter-pillar gap size of 4μm, also resulted in enhanced mineralization of DPSCs cultured without ODM, while no significant trend was observed for DPSCs cultured with ODM. Generally, cells cultured without ODM had a larger deposition of osteogenic markers on structured surfaces relative to the unstructured surfaces than what was found when culturing with ODM. We conclude that the topographical design of biomaterials can be optimized for the regulation of DPSC differentiation and speculate that the inclusion of ODM alters the ability of the cells to sense surface topographical cues. These results are essential in order to transfer the use of this highly proliferative, easily accessible stem cell into the clinic for use in cell therapy and regenerative medicine.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Pages (from-to)641-650
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

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