Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New biomaterial gets 'sticky' with stem cells

Date:
December 10, 2012
Source:
University of California, San Diego
Summary:
Just like the bones that hold up your body, your cells have their own scaffolding that holds them up. This scaffolding, known as the extracellular matrix, or ECM, not only props up cells but also provides attachment sites, or “sticky spots,” to which cells can bind, just as bones hold muscles in place.

Immunofluorescent images shows the foam (green), stem cells (red) and stem cell nuclei (blue) with the middle image showing optimal foam stickiness for stem cell growth.
Credit: Adam Engler, Department of Bioengineering, UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

Just like the bones that hold up your body, your cells have their own scaffolding that holds them up. This scaffolding, known as the extracellular matrix, or ECM, not only props up cells but also provides attachment sites, or "sticky spots," to which cells can bind, just as bones hold muscles in place.

A new study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom found these sticky spots are distributed randomly throughout the extracellular matrix in the body, an important discovery with implications for researchers trying to figure out how to grow stem cells in the lab in ways that most closely mimic biology. That's because the synthetic materials scientists currently use to mimic ECM in the lab don't have randomly distributed sticky spots, but instead are more uniformly sticky.

The study was published by Adam Engler, a bioengineering professor at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, and Giuseppe Battaglia, a professor of synthetic biology at the University of Sheffield in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). The group then mimicked this random stickiness in a foam biomaterial made out of polymers.

Battaglia and Engler explained that the foam uses two polymers, one that is sticky and one that is not, that separate from each other in solution. "It's like what happens when you make balsamic vinaigrette and all the vinegar is randomly distributed in tiny bubbles throughout the oil," said Engler. "We shook these two polymers up sufficiently to form randomly distributed nano-scopic patches of the sticky material amid the non-sticky material."

At the appropriate ratio of sticky and non-sticky polymer, they found that it is possible to tune the size and distribution of the foam's adhesive regions: having less sticky polymer in the foam made its adhesive patches smaller and more dispersed, just as with natural ECM.

What was surprising to the team was when they allowed stem cells to adhere to the foams, they found that random stickiness versus uniform stickiness was required for stem cells to properly adhere. They also found that this is likely necessary for stem cell development into mature tissue cells. As Battaglia explains, "In this sense, stem cells are like Goldilocks: the scaffold should not be too sticky or not sticky, it must be just right to maximize adhesion, and later, to cause stem cells to mature into tissue cells."

The data published by Battaglia, Engler, and lead authors Priyalakshmi Viswanathan from the University of Sheffield and UC San Diego Bioengineering Ph.D. student Somyot Chirasatitsin should help better inform researchers of how to make their biomaterials appropriately sticky for stem cells to 'feel' their way around.

This work was supported by grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (DP02OD006460), Human Frontiers Science Program, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in the United Kingdom.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Priyalakshmi Viswanathan, Somyot Chirasatitsin, Kamolchanok Ngamkham, Adam J. Engler, Giuseppe Battaglia. Cell Instructive Microporous Scaffolds through Interface Engineering. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2012; 121130125943008 DOI: 10.1021/ja308523f

Cite This Page:

University of California, San Diego. "New biomaterial gets 'sticky' with stem cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210124212.htm>.
University of California, San Diego. (2012, December 10). New biomaterial gets 'sticky' with stem cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210124212.htm
University of California, San Diego. "New biomaterial gets 'sticky' with stem cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210124212.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins