Cell type–specific extracellular matrix guided the differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells in 3D polymeric scaffolds

Yong Mao, Tyler Hoffman, Amy Wu, Ritu Goyal, Joachim Kohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Abstract: The tissue microenvironment has profound effects on tissue-specific regeneration. The 3-dimensional extracellular matrix (ECM) niche influences the linage-specific differentiation of stem cells in tissue. To understand how ECM guides tissue-specific regeneration, we established a series of 3D composite scaffolds containing ECMs derived from different primary cells isolated from a single animal species and assessed their impact on the differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Synthetic microfiber scaffolds (fiber mats) were fabricated by electrospinning tyrosine-derived polycarbonates (pDTEC). The bovine primary fibroblasts, chondrocytes and osteoblasts cultured on the fiber mats produced and assembled their ECMs, infiltrating the pores of the fibrous scaffold. The composite scaffolds were decellularized to remove cellular components, preserve ECM and minimally affect polymer integrity. Characterization of the ECMs derived from different primary cells in the composite scaffolds showed overlapping but distinct compositions. The chondrogenic and osteogenic differentiation of hMSCs on the different composite scaffolds were compared. Our results showed that ECM derived from chondrocytes cultured in synthetic fiber mats promoted the chondrogenic differentiation of hMSC in the presence or absence of soluble inducing factors. ECM derived from co-culture of osteoblasts and chondrocytes promoted osteogenic differentiation in hMSCs better than ECM derived from chondrocytes. This study demonstrated that decellularized ECMs derived from different cell types formed within synthetic fiber scaffolds guide the tissue-specific differentiation of hMSCs. These composite scaffolds may be developed into models to study the mechanisms of ECM-induced tissue regeneration. Graphical Abstract: InlineMediaObject not available: see fulltext.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100
JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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