Understanding the spatiotemporal dynamics of stem cell fate regulation is important for both fundamental biology and for directing the generation of a specific phenotype during the fabrication of tissue engineering materials. Recent findings revealed aspects of extracellular signals transduction by mesenchymal stem cells that are further integrated to modulate their lineage specification. This review focuses on recent developments in the field of nanobiomaterials design and fabrication for use in research and therapy of bone tissue. Also, new methods of assessment of stem cell multipotency or differentiated phenotype developed for clinical quality control applications are described. Materials engineered for understanding fundamental mechanisms of stem cell interaction with substrates are highlighted as key studies to drive advances in bone implants design. The use of polymers with defined biomechanical and topographical features to mimic the extracellular matrix biochemistry or biophysical cues is discussed. Bioengineered scaffolds able to induce osteogenic fate of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in the absence of differentiation factors are successful models for potential development of implant biomaterials with enhanced osseointegration capacity and decreased soft tissue encapsulation.
Keywords: Bone implants; extracellular matrix; mesenchymal stem cells; osteogenic induction; polymers; signaling..
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