A challenge in regenerative medicine is governed by the need to have control over the fate of stem cells that is regulated by the physical and chemical microenvironment in vitro and in vivo. The differentiation of the stem cells into specific lineages is commonly guided by use of specific culture media. For the first time, we demonstrate that human mesenchymal stem cells are capable of turning spontaneously towards neurogenic lineage when seeded on graphene-augmented, highly anisotropic ceramic nanofibres without special differentiation media, contrary to commonly thought requirement of ‘soft’ substrates for the same purpose. Furthermore, pro-inflammatory gene expression is simultaneously suppressed, and expression of factors promoting focal adhesion and monocytes taxis is upregulated. This opens new possibilities of using local topo-mechanical cues of the ‘graphenized’ scaffold surfaces to guide stem cell proliferation and differentiation, which can be used in studies of neurological diseases and cell therapy.
- Stem cells