Three-dimensional biomaterials for the study of human pluripotent stem cells

Nat Methods. 2011 Aug 30;8(9):731-6. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1671.


The self-renewal and differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) have typically been studied in flat, two-dimensional (2D) environments. In this Perspective, we argue that 3D model systems may be needed in addition, as they mimic the natural 3D tissue organization more closely. We survey methods that have used 3D biomaterials for expansion of undifferentiated hPSCs, directed differentiation of hPSCs and transplantation of differentiated hPSCs in vivo.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Humans
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / physiology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Receptors, Cell Surface