Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research, Max Bergmann Center of Biomaterials, Dresden, Germany
Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus, Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I, Dresden, Germany
Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden, Dresden, Germany
The homeostasis of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSC) in the bone marrow is regulated by a complex interplay of exogenous signals, including extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules, cell–cell contacts, and cytokines. To investigate the influence of spatial restriction and adhesive interactions on HSC fate decisions, we prepared a set of fibronectin-coated micrometer-sized cavities. Analysis of human CD133+ HSCs isolated after culture on these surfaces revealed that proliferation and differentiation is decreased when HSCs are supported by substrates with small microcavities. Single cell analysis of adherent cells also revealed decreased DNA synthesis and higher levels of HSC marker expression inside the smaller cavities. Increasing the cytokine concentration highlighted the tight balance of adhesion related signals and soluble cues acting on HSC fate decisions. Our results suggest that confining human HSCs in ECM-coated microcavities is a possible method to maintain these cells in a quiescent and immature state, an important advantage for several HSC applications.
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