Control of stem cell fate by physical interactions with the extracellular matrix

Cell Stem Cell. 2009 Jul 2;5(1):17-26. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2009.06.016.


A diverse array of environmental factors contributes to the overall control of stem cell activity. In particular, new data continue to mount on the influence of the extracellular matrix (ECM) on stem cell fate through physical interactions with cells, such as the control of cell geometry, ECM geometry/topography at the nanoscale, ECM mechanical properties, and the transmission of mechanical or other biophysical factors to the cell. Here, we review some of the physical processes by which cues from the ECM can influence stem cell fate, with particular relevance to the use of stem cells in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Shape
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology*
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Tissue Engineering