RGD-Functionalized Nanofibers Increase Early GFAP Expression during Neural Differentiation of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells.
Stem cell differentiation toward a specific lineage is controlled by its microenvironment. Polymer scaffolds have long been investigated to provide microenvironment cues; however, synthetic polymers lack the specific signaling motifs necessary to direct cellular responses on their own. In this study, we fabricated random and aligned poly(ε-caprolactone) nanofiber substrates, surface-functionalized with RGD viastrain-promoted azide-alkyne cycloaddition, that were used to investigate the role of a covalently tethered bioactive peptide (RGD) and nanofiber orientation on neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells. Gene and protein expression showed neural differentiation progression over 14 days, with similar expression on RGD random and aligned nanofibers for neurons and glia over time. The high levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein expression at early time points were indicative of neural progenitors, and occurred earlier than on controls or in previous reports. These results highlight the influence of RGD binding versus topography in differentiation.
Philip, DL; Silantyeva, EA; Becker, ML; Willits, RK
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