Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed a new, more precise way to control the differentiation of stem cells into bone cells.
The viscoelasticity of living tissue was mimicked by creating hydrogels with different stress relaxation responses. Not only did increased stress relaxation dramatically increase early osteogenic differentiation but those cells continued to grow as bone cells weeks after their initial differentiation and formed an interconnected mineralized matrix rich in collagen, key structural features of bone.
“This work both provides new insight into the biology of regeneration, and is allowing us to design materials that actively promote tissue regeneration,” said Mooney, a coauthor of the paper and faculty member of the Wyss Institute.
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