Materials-Directed Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Tissue Engineering and Regeneration

J. Kent Leach, Jacklyn Whitehead

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Cell-based therapies are a promising alternative to grafts and organ transplantation for treating tissue loss or damage due to trauma, malfunction, or disease. Over the past two decades, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have attracted much attention as a potential cell population for use in regenerative medicine. Although the proliferative capacity and multilineage potential of MSCs provide an opportunity to generate clinically relevant numbers of transplantable cells, their use in tissue regenerative applications has met with relatively limited success to date apart from secreting paracrine-acting factors to modulate the defect microenvironment. Presently, there is significant effort to engineer the biophysical properties of biomaterials to direct MSC differentiation and further expand on the potential of MSCs in tissue engineering, regeneration, and repair. Biomaterials can dictate MSC differentiation by modulating features of the substrate including composition, mechanical properties, porosity, and topography. The purpose of this review is to highlight recent approaches for guiding MSC fate using biomaterials and provide a description of the underlying characteristics that promote differentiation toward a desired phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1115-1127
Number of pages13
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 9 2018


  • biomaterial
  • differentiation
  • mesenchymal stem cell
  • scaffold
  • tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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