Materials science offers a powerful tool to control mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) growth and differentiation into functional phenotypes. A complex interplay between the extracellular matrix and growth factors guides MSC phenotypes in vivo. In this Review, we discuss materials-based bioengineering approaches to direct MSC fate in vitro and in vivo, mimicking cell–matrix–growth factor crosstalk. We first scrutinize MSC–matrix interactions and how the properties of a material can be tailored to support MSC growth and differentiation in vitro, with an emphasis on MSC self-renewal mechanisms. We then highlight important growth factor signalling pathways and investigate various materials-based strategies for growth factor presentation and delivery. Integrin–growth factor crosstalk in the context of MSC engineering is introduced, and bioinspired material designs with the potential to control the MSC niche phenotype are considered. Finally, we summarize important milestones on the road to MSC engineering for regenerative medicine.
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The authors thank the UK Medical Research Council, the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council for grants MR/L022710/1, EP/P001114/1 and BB/N018419/1, respectively. The authors thank A. Rodrigo-Navarro for the design of the illustrations.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Dalby, M., García, A. & Salmeron-Sanchez, M. Receptor control in mesenchymal stem cell engineering. Nat Rev Mater 3, 17091 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/natrevmats.2017.91
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