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Recent Advancements in Engineering Strategies for Manipulating Neural Stem Cell Behavior


O'Grady BJBrian J , Lippmann ESEthan S . Current tissue microenvironment reports. 2020 4 3; 1(2). 41-47


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Stem cells are exquisitely sensitive to biophysical and biochemical cues within the native microenvironment. This review focuses on emerging strategies to manipulate neural cell behavior using these influences in three-dimensional (3D) culture systems.

RECENT FINDINGS: Traditional systems for neural cell differentiation typically produce heterogeneous populations with limited diversity rather than the complex, organized tissue structures observed . Advancements in developing engineering tools to direct neural cell fates can enable new applications in basic research, disease modeling, and regenerative medicine.

SUMMARY: This review article highlights engineering strategies that facilitate controlled presentation of biophysical and biochemical cues to guide differentiation and impart desired phenotypes on neural cell populations. Specific highlighted examples include engineered biomaterials and microfluidic platforms for spatiotemporal control over the presentation of morphogen gradients.