Origin of Enhanced Stem Cell Growth and Differentiation on Graphene and Graphene Oxide

  • Lee W
  • Haley C
  • Lim Y
 et al. 
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These authors contributed equally. M esenchymal stem cells (MSCs) iso-lated from adult bone marrow are multipotent progenitor cells noted for their potential to differentiate into cell lineages such as adipocytes, osteoblasts, and chondrocytes. 1 By manipulating materi-al mechanics, 2 substrate topography, 3 and applied growth factor inducers, 4 MSCs can be induced to differentiate into desired cell types applicable in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Many biochemists and molecular biologists employ chemical factors to induce differentiation in vitro, but guided differentiation of stem cells using these strategies is not efficient and often requires weeks to months of cell culture for maturation into distinct lineages. 5 This has limited the widespread use of stem cell therapy. Therefore, there is a need to devel-op efficient methods for enhancing MSC differentiation. There is a drive to search for biocompa-tible and mechanically stable platforms for in vivo implant technology for delivering stem cells. 6,7 Certain nanomaterials were found to be able to enhance stem cell pro-liferation and lineage specification, although the chemical origins of these can be complex. 8À11 Aqueous suspensions of car-bon nanotubes 12 and gold nanoparticles 13 have been demonstrated to enhance osteo-genesis. A stress mechanism was suggested to be operational, brought about by the interaction of these nanomaterials with the cell membrane as well as binding with pro-teins in the cytoplasm, which activated the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway responsible for regulating the expression of genes inducing osteogenic transcription. 13 Glass substrates coated with bionanoparticles such as turnip yellow mosaic (TYMV) and tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) have also been shown to stimu-late MSC osteogenic differentiation and bone matrix mineralization, and factors such as the nanoscale topography, serum protein ad-sorption by viruses, or interaction with certain cellular receptors have been proposed. Atomically thin graphene (G) and gra-phene oxides (GO) sheets are biocompati-ble platforms that have the potential to mediate stem cell lineage specification for tissue regeneration. G is characterized by a purely carbon, aromatic network that pre-sents an open surface for noncovalent inter-action with biomolecules. G can now be produced in large areas by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) on copper foil.

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  • Wong Cheng Lee

  • Candy Haley

  • Y X Lim

  • Hui Shi

  • Lena A L Tang

  • Yu Wang

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