Wed, 18/05/2022 - 16:30
Campus Homburg Building 48, CIPMM Auditorium

Prof. Dr. Andrew Holle
Host: Dr. Bin Qu
Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore

Physiological Confinement Induces Stem Cell Differentiation

Self-induced cellular confinement has been shown to play a role in a wide variety of biological processes, including cancer invasion and metastasis, immune cell navigation, and mechanosensitive gene expression and localization. However, the ability of adult stem cells to enter tight confinements has been less studied, despite the fact that stem cells are capable of finely tuned mechanotransduction, must migrate from their home niche to their regenerative niche, and have been shown to integrate past stimuli in a form of 'mechanical memory'. Here, we characterize the interstitial spaces in cleared tissue, providing a physiological basis for the design of biomimetic microchannel devices. Next, we show that adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) and bone marrow stem cells (hMSCs) are capable of entering and permeating PDMS-based microchannels as narrow as 3 μm. Patterns of microchannel permeation as a function of width are similar to those found in cancer cells, despite the fact that these stem cells are more well-spread and exhibit higher cell diameters. Both narrow and wide confinements were shown to induce an upregulation of the osteogenic differentiation marker CBFA1. Interestingly, narrow confinements led to enhanced CBFA1 nuclear localization compared to wide channels, suggesting that the level of confinement imposed upon a stem cell via its extracellular environment ultimately plays a role in differentiation. Future work will ultimately discern if the migratory journey a stem cell undergoes during development and regeneration, and the confinement it experiences along the way, drive tissue-specific stem cell differentiation.

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