An extracellular microenvironment, including an extracellular matrix (ECM), is an important factor in regulating stem cell differentiation. During tissue development, the ECM is dynamically remodeled to regulate stem cell functions. Here, we developed matrices mimicking ECM remodeling during the osteogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The matrices were prepared from cultured MSCs controlled at different stages of osteogenesis and referred to as "stepwise osteogenesis-mimicking matrices." The matrices supported the adhesion and proliferation of MSCs and showed different effects on the osteogenesis of MSCs. On the matrices mimicking the early stage of osteogenesis (early stage matrices), the osteogenesis occurred more rapidly than did that on the matrices mimicking undifferentiated stem cells (stem cell matrices) and the late stage of osteogenesis (late stage matrices). RUNX2 was similarly expressed when MSCs were cultured on both the early stage and late stage matrices but decreased on the stem cell matrices. PPARG expression in the MSCs cultured on the late stage matrices was higher than for those cultured on the stem cell and early stage matrices. This increase of PPARG expression was caused by the suppression of the amount of beta-catenin and downstream signal transduction. These results demonstrate that the osteogenesis-mimicking matrices had different effects on the osteogenesis of MSCs, and the early stage matrices provided a favorable microenvironment for the osteogenesis.
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