Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Zhengqing Z. Hu

Second Advisor

Patrick P. Mueller


The physical cues, which included topography, stiffness, and mechanical forces, can influence the stem cell renewal, differentiation, and maturation in vivo and in vitro. The nano-topography of the ECM can stimulate the neural differentiation of the stem cells, while the micro-topography of the ECM can guide the neurite outgrowth. However, the role and functional size of the micro- and nano-topography in the stem cell fate determination is not clear yet. To study this aim, two biomaterial based aligned fiber platforms (ACMFP and ASMFP) were designed, fabrication and evaluated to cover the micro-, submicro-, and nano-fiber topography, which used to study the neural differentiation and maturation of the ESCs. All these platforms were showed good alignment, contiguous, and biocompatibility via the physical factor assay, biocompatibility assay evaluation. The results showed three different gradient sizes of the platforms were fabricated in two type of platforms, which are 60 μm, 90 μm, 120 μm in ACMFPs and 0.7 μm, 1.5 μm, 3 μm in ASFMPs. The ESCs derived NBs were cultured on all platforms and their control flat membranes for six days, which followed with immunofluorescence staining. The result showed that all the ACMFPs and ASMFPs could stimulate the neural lineage cell differentiation. The affection of the ACMFPs induced the neural differentiation stimulate may cause by limit the cell proliferation. Part of the ACMFPs and ASMFPs can guide the neurite outgrowth direction. Part of the ASMFPs can stimulate the synaptogenesis. Overall, the micro-, submicro-, and nano-fiber pattern platforms seem to play a key role in the stem cell determination with different stimulation levels and types. The study of the topography induced stem cell differentiation may contribute the stem cell research and open a new way for clinical therapy in the future.

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