Advanced healthcare materials

Role of Cytoskeletal Tension in the Induction of Cardiomyogenic Differentiation in Micropatterned Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell.

PMID 25946615


The role of biophysical induction methods such as cell micropatterning in stem cell differentiation has been well documented previously. However, the underlying mechanistic linkage of the engineered cell shape to directed lineage commitment remains poorly understood. Here, it is reported that micropatterning plays an important role in regulating the optimal cytoskeletal tension development in human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) via cell mechanotransduction pathways to induce cardiomyogenic differentiation. Cells are grown on fibronectin strip patterns to control cell polarization and morphology. These patterned cells eventually show directed commitment toward the myocardial lineage. The cell's mechanical properties (cell stiffness and cell traction forces) are observed to be very different for cells that have committed to the myocardial lineage when compared with that of control. These committed cells have mechanical properties that are significantly lower indicating a correlation between the micropatterning-induced differentiation and actomyosin-generated cytoskeletal tension within patterned cells. To study this correlation, patterned cells are treated with RhoA pathway inhibitor. Severely down-regulated cardiomyogenic marker expression is observed in those treated patterned cells, thus emphasizing the direct dependence of hMSCs differentiation fate on the cytoskeletal tension.