Hydrophilic cell-derived extracellular matrix as a niche to promote adhesion and differentiation of neural progenitor cells†
The natural extracellular matrix (ECM) offers a dynamic and intricate microenvironment, which serves as a structural support and regulates cell phenotype and its function. Recently, ECM has been revealed as a favorable and biocompatible architecture for stem cell adhesion and growth in cellular therapy to treat various diseases. However, cell-derived ECM is rarely used as a culture substrate for anchorage-dependent cells, such as neural progenitor cells (NPCs), which have the potential to differentiate into basal forebrain cholinergic neurons (BFCNs) for Alzheimer's disease. Here, we report mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF)-derived ECM, with an appropriately hydrophilic property (water contact angle of 66.8°) to mimic the neural niche for NPCs. In addition, MEF-derived ECM possesses a nanotopological surface, plentiful kinds of components and exhibits excellent adhesion properties for anchoring NPCs. Compared with a laminin-coated plate, MEF-derived ECM promotes NPC proliferation and differentiation into BFCNs by ∼1.6 fold and ∼3.1 fold, respectively, consequently enhancing the production of acetylcholine by ∼2.0 fold. This MEF-derived ECM could be a favorable cell culture carrier for NPC attachment, with great potential for applications in stem cell therapy for Alzheimer's disease.