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Abstract

Stem cells are a powerful resource for many applications including regenerative medicine, patient-specific disease modeling, and toxicology screening. However, eliciting the desired behavior from stem cells, such as expansion in a naïve state or differentiation into a particular mature lineage, remains challenging. Drawing inspiration from the native stem cell niche, hydrogel platforms have been developed to regulate stem cell fate by controlling microenvironmental parameters including matrix mechanics, degradability, cell-adhesive ligand presentation, local microstructure, and cell–cell interactions. We survey techniques for modulating hydrogel properties and review the effects of microenvironmental parameters on maintaining stemness and controlling differentiation for a variety of stem cell types. Looking forward, we envision future hydrogel designs spanning a spectrum of complexity, ranging from simple, fully defined materials for industrial expansion of stem cells to complex, biomimetic systems for organotypic cell culture models.

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2018-06-04
2024-04-23
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