Nanotopographical effects on mesenchymal stem cell morphology and phenotype

Penelope Tsimbouri, Nikolaj Gadegaard, Karl Burgess, Kate White, Paul Reynolds, Pawel Herzyk, Richard Oreffo, Matthew J Dalby

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There is a rapidly growing body of literature on the effects of topography and critically, nanotopography on cell adhesion, apoptosis and differentiation. Understanding the effects of nanotopography on cell adhesion and morphology and the consequences of cell shape changes in the nucleus, and consequently, gene expression offers new approaches to the elucidation and potential control of stem cell differentiation. In the current study we have used molecular approaches in combination with immunohistology and transcript analysis to understand the role of nanotopography on mesenchymal stem cell morphology and phenotype. Results demonstrate large changes in cell adhesion, nucleus and lamin morphologies in response to the different nanotopographies. Furthermore, these changes relate to alterations in packing of chromosome territories within the interphase nucleus. This, in turn, leads to changes in transcription factor activity and functional (phenotypical) signalling including cell metabolism. Nanotopography provides a useful, non‐invasive tool for studying cellular mechanotransduction, gene and protein expression patterns, through effects on cell morphology. The different nanotopographies examined, result in different morphological changes in the cyto‐ and nucleo‐skeleton. We propose that both indirect (biochemical) and direct (mechanical) signalling are important in these early stages of regulating stem cell fate as a consequence of altered metabolic changes and altered phenotype. The current studies provide new insight on cell–surface interactions and enhance our understanding of the modulation of stem cell differentiation with significant potential application in regenerative medicine. J. Cell. Biochem. 115: 380–390, 2014. © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-390
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2013


  • MSC
  • phenotype
  • focal adhesions
  • nanotopography


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