Artificial hematopoietic stem cell niche: bioscaffolds to microfluidics to mathematical simulations

Curr Top Med Chem. 2011;11(13):1599-605. doi: 10.2174/156802611796117568.


Due to the recent advancements in stem cell biology and engineering, scientists have been increasingly interested in creating in vitro niches for embryonic and adult stem cells, and, following induction and differentiation with the appropriate media, the production of large scale blood production. This artificially created niche for hematopoietic cells will be composed of three materials: the stem cells themselves, the scaffold surrounding the stem cell, and the media used to expand and differentiate the stem cells. This paper will examine the recent advancements in technology for each of these relating to the development of an artificial stem cell niche. Many key aspects of the artificial niche need to be improved on before we can scale up the engineered device for large scale blood production including more efficient methods of retrieval of the embroid bodies produced from the microfluidic channels. The current state of experimental methods such as these as well as relevant discoveries in related fields that could be applied to artificial niche technology is described in this paper. Furthermore, we present a mathematical model to describe cell expansion in the artificial hematopoietic stem cell niche in order to design and optimize a scaled-up bioreactor. The mathematical model describes the dynamics of expansion, and maintenance of homeostasis in the bioreactor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques
  • Stem Cell Niche*
  • Tissue Engineering / instrumentation
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*