Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) hold great promise for regenerative therapies and tissue engineering applications given their multipotential differentiation capacity. However, MSC isolation and expansion are typically performed on super-physiologically stiff tissue culture plastic (TCP), which may alter their behavior and lead to unintended consequences upon implantation. In contrast, electrospun nanofibrous scaffolds possess physical and mechanical properties that are similar to that of native tissue. In this study, we investigated whether isolation and expansion of juvenile bovine MSCs directly onto electrospun nanofibrous scaffolds better preserves MSC phenotype and stemness compared to TCP. Our data show that culture of MSCs on electrospun scaffolds reduces proliferation, decreases cellular senescence, and better maintains stemness compared to cells isolated and expanded on TCP, likely due to a reduction in cell contractility. Furthermore, in contrast to electrospun scaffolds, TCP biased MSCs towards a fibrotic phenotype that persisted even after the cells were reseeded onto a different substrate. Cells pre-cultured on electrospun scaffolds exhibited a heightened response to mechanical stimuli and greater chondrogenesis in methacrylated hyaluronic acid hydrogels. These data suggest that alternative substrates that better approximate the native cell environment should be used to preserve endogenous MSC behavior and may improve their success in tissue engineering applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine