Three-Dimensional Nanostructured Architectures Enable Efficient Neural Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells via Mechanotransduction

Mahla Poudineh, Zongjie Wang, Mahmoud Labib, Moloud Ahmadi, Libing Zhang, Jagotamoy Das, Sharif Ahmed, Stephane Angers, Shana O. Kelley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Cell morphology and geometry affect cellular processes such as stem cell differentiation, suggesting that these parameters serve as fundamental regulators of biological processes within the cell. Hierarchical architectures featuring micro- and nanotopographical features therefore offer programmable systems for stem cell differentiation. However, a limited number of studies have explored the effects of hierarchical architectures due to the complexity of fabricating systems with rationally tunable micro- and nanostructuring. Here, we report three-dimensional (3D) nanostructured microarchitectures that efficiently regulate the fate of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). These nanostructured architectures strongly promote cell alignment and efficient neurogenic differentiation where over 85% of hMSCs express microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2), a mature neural marker, after 7 days of culture on the nanostructured surface. Remarkably, we found that the surface morphology of nanostructured surface is a key factor that promotes neurogenesis and that highly spiky structures promote more efficient neuronal differentiation. Immunostaining and gene expression profiling revealed significant upregulation of neuronal markers compared to unpatterned surfaces. These findings suggest that the 3D nanostructured microarchitectures can play a critical role in defining stem cell behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7188-7193
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 14 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • cell morphology
  • nanostructured architectures
  • neural differentiation
  • Stem cell differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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