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NEST Scientific Report 2007-2009 Nanotechnology for guided cell differentiation

Summary: NEST Scientific Report 2007-2009
Nanotechnology for guided cell differentiation
he morphogenesis of mammalian organs and tissues relies on the ability of individual
cells to respond to a vast range of extracellular signals. Among these are gradients
of soluble molecules such as growth factor and cell-secreted mitogens encoding for
preferential directions over long distances. Much of the exsisting literature concerning
guided cell differentiation focused on the identification and biological characterization of
these molecules. In recent years an increasing body of evidence revealed that a second
determinant of cell activity is provided by the chemical and physical properties of the
extracellular matrix (ECM) in the cell proximity. These guidance cues are read by cells in a
process that requires the activity of specific cell adhesion machineries and the remodeling of
the cell shape. Several cellular responses such as polarization, migration, proliferation, and
apoptosis are elicited by a direct cell-ECM interaction in virtually all cell types. A pivotal role
in this process is played by the substrate nanotopography. In order to unravel the mechanisms
by which differentiating cells read the local topography it is crucial to decouple its effects
from those stemming from other chemical and physical stimuli. Thanks to recent advances
in biomaterial nanofabrication, selected morphological aspects of the ECM are now
reproducible in vitro through the realization of artificial scaffolds with controlled topography


Source: Abbondandolo, Alberto - Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa


Collections: Mathematics