Coating nanofiber scaffolds with beta cell membrane to promote cell proliferation and function
The cell membrane cloaking technique has emerged as an intriguing strategy in nanomaterial functionalization. Coating synthetic nanostructures with natural cell membranes bestows the nanostructures with unique cell surface antigens and functions. Previous studies have focused primarily on development of cell membrane-coated spherical nanoparticles and the uses thereof. Herein, we attempt to extend the cell membrane cloaking technique to nanofibers, a class of functional nanomaterials that are drastically different from nanoparticles in terms of dimensional and mechanophysical characteristics. Using pancreatic beta cells as a model cell line, we demonstrate successful preparation of cell membrane-coated nanofibers and validate that the modified nanofibers possess an antigenic exterior closely resembling that of the source beta cells. When such nanofiber scaffolds are used to culture beta cells, both cell proliferation rate and function are significantly enhanced. Specifically, glucose-dependent insulin secretion from the cells is increased by near five-fold compared with the same beta cells cultured in regular, unmodified nanofiber scaffolds. Overall, coating cell membranes onto nanofibers could add another dimension of flexibility and controllability in harnessing cell membrane functions and offer new opportunities for innovative applications.