Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Faculty Research


The Effects of Ecm Ligand Type and Concentration on Neural Stem Cell Differentiation

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2012


New developments in growth factor and pharmaceutical control of cells for neural regenerative strategies have built a need for high throughput assays to conveniently screen these treatments in vitro before moving to more complex experiments. Towards this application we have studied an easy and highly reproducible culture regime with a renewable cell source for central nervous system (CNS) strategies. Adult neural stem cells (NSCs) derived from the CNS are attractive for use in screening assay because they are easily expanded and can differentiate into all major CNS cell types. NSCs were cultured on glass alone or methacrylamide chitosan (MAC) hydrogel coated glass substrates, immobilized with extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins collagen and laminin at varying densities. Proteins were also adsorbed on the surfaces as a control. We found that adsorbed protein on hydrogel coated glass resulted in the highest cell densities after 8 d, over twice the density of immobilized groups or adsorbed protein on glass. No significant differences were observed between collagen, laminin, or both proteins together regarding cell differentiation (p > 0.05); however, the morphological spreading and branching of differentiated NSC processes was enhanced on MAC substrates with covalently immobilized laminin protein. The results of this work suggest that a soft MAC hydrogel surface with adsorbed protein would be most desirable for specifying neuronal differentiation of large numbers of stem cells due to the high cellularities they supported.