Stem Cell Differentiation is Regulated by Cell Communication


  While cell communication and cell differentiation are two of basic topics in Cell Biology, their relation is far away from being sufficiently clear. Based upon our unique material technique to control the localization of cells on a micropatterned surface, we designed specific patterns to unambiguously examine osteogenic and adipogenic differentiations of bone-marrow stem cells on different domains with well-controlled cell contact. We found that cell-cell contact as the simplest and most frequent way of cell communication enhances differentiation of stem cells. A linear relation between contact extent and differentiation extent is established. (Jian Tang, Rong Peng, Jiandong Ding*, The regulation of stem cell differentiation by cell-cell contact on micropatterned material surfaces, Biomaterials, 31, 2470–2476 (2010))