Regulation of stem cell fate by nanomaterial substrates

New advances in these fields are presented in this review by Mashinchian et al. in the Special Focus Issue ‘Engineering the nanoenvironment for regenerative medicine.’

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Stem cells are increasingly studied because of their potential to underpin a range of novel therapies, including regenerative strategies, cell type-specific therapy and tissue repair, among others. Bionanomaterials can mimic the stem cell environment and modulate stem cell differentiation and proliferation. New advances in these fields are presented in this review by Mashinchian et al. in the Special Focus Issue ‘Engineering the nanoenvironment for regenerative medicine.’ This work highlights the importance of topography and elasticity of the nano-/micro-environment, or niche, for the initiation and induction of stem cell differentiation and proliferation.

Over the last few decades, biomaterial-based therapeutic approaches have been successfully employed in regenerative medicine for the repair of tissues [1–5]. This novel approach creates new opportunities for stem cell-based regenerative therapies and the advancement of drug delivery and discovery [2,6–8]. Inevitably, numerous people lose a part or function of their organs and tissues due to a diverse range of diseases, birth defects or accidental trauma; thus, a tremendous clinical demand exists to promote the regeneration of injured/diseased tissues. 

Continuous advances in the field of cell and tissue engineering give scientists hope for future developments of implantable tissues, for example, for skin and cartilage, which have already been commercialized or possess high commercialization potential [9]. Stem cells, including embryonic (ESCs), adult and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), are promising cell sources to underpin these novel therapies [10,11]. 

One of the most challenging aspects of regenerative medicine, both in vitro and in vivo, is how to guide stem cell differentiation toward a specific desired lineage [12–15]. In vivo, appropriate differentiation, proliferation and maintenance of potency are regulated by stem cells and their specific microenvironments (niches) [16–18]. Biomaterials can mimic the niches of stem cells and specifically effect the in vitro differentiation that is necessary for clinical application.

Consequently, research efforts have been principally devoted to understanding how a wide range of well-recognized differentiation factors (e.g., growth factors, low molecular weight chemicals, extracellular matrix [ECM] components, cell shape, matrix stiffness and mechanical forces) contribute to the stem cell microenvironment [16,19–23]. In this review, the topography that stem cells encounter will be a particular focus. The roles of niche components and architecture in regulating cell behaviors can be elucidated by simplifying the niche structure using well-defined synthetic microenvironments as artificial bioinspired models. It is possible to biomimic the 3D structures that support tissue growth and direct cell behavior through cell-ECM interactions by using natural or artificial polymeric matrices, as will be discussed [24,25]. 

In this review, we highlight new advances in the bionanomaterials field, focusing on stem cell fate together with a perspective on future applications in the next generation of regenerative medicine….

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Author affiliations:

Omid Mashinchian

Department of Medical Nanotechnology, School of Advanced Technologies in Medicine (SATiM), Tehran University of Medical Sciences, PO Box 14177–55469, Tehran, Iran

Lesley-Anne Turner

Centre for Cell Engineering, Joseph Black Building, Institute of Biomedical & Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, UK

Matthew J Dalby

Centre for Cell Engineering, Joseph Black Building, Institute of Biomedical & Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, UK

Sophie Laurent

Department of General, Organic & Biomedical Chemistry, NMR & Molecular Imaging Laboratory, University of Mons, Avenue Maistriau 19, B-7000 Mons, Belgium

Mohammad Ali Shokrgozar

National Cell Bank, Pasteur Institute of Iran, PO Box 13169–43551, Tehran, Iran

Shahin Bonakdar

National Cell Bank, Pasteur Institute of Iran, PO Box 13169–43551, Tehran, Iran

Mohammad Imani

Novel Drug Delivery Systems Department, Iran Polymer & Petrochemical Institute (IPPI), PO Box 14965/115, Tehran, Iran

Morteza Mahmoudi

Department of Nanotechnology & Nanotechnology Research Center, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, PO Box 14155–6451, Tehran, Iran

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Nanomedicine (Impact Factor: 4.717 [2018), is an award-winning peer-reviewed journal from Future Science Group, available in both print and online formats. Published 24 times per year, Nanomedicine is a uniquely medicine-focused journal, addressing the important challenges and advances in medical nanoscale-structured material and devices, biotechnology devices and molecular machine systems and nanorobotics, delivering this essential information in concise, clear and attractive article formats. Nanomedicine is listed by Medline/PubMed, Science Citation Index Expanded, Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, Current Contents/Life Sciences and the Biotechnology Citation Index. Professor Kostas Kostarelos (Nanomedicine Lab, University of Manchester, UK) is the journal’s Senior Editor. You can find out more about Nanomedicine on our website (, including the journal’s aims and scope and details of our international editorial board.


Go to the profile of Omid Mashinchian
Omid Mashinchian about 5 years ago

Please consider this papers about the "commercialization aspects of the stem cell-based products" and also "cell-imprinted bio-mimicked substrates":

Go to the profile of Nanomedicine
Nanomedicine about 5 years ago

Many thanks for your comments Omid. Do you have an opinion on this article regarding the commercialization aspects of stem cell-based products and cell-imprinted bio-mimicked substrates?