Cellular microenvironments are generally sophisticated, but crucial for regulating the functions of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). Despite tremendous effort in this field, the correlation between the environmental factors-especially the extracellular matrix and soluble cell factors-and the desired cellular functions remains largely unknown because of the lack of appropriate tools to recapitulate in vivo conditions and/or simultaneously evaluate the interplay of different environment factors. Here, a combinatorial platform is developed with integrated microfluidic channels and nanofibers, associated with a method of high-content single-cell analysis, to study the effects of environmental factors on stem cell phenotype. Particular attention is paid to the dependence of hPSC short-term self-renewal on the density and composition of extracellular matrices and initial cell seeding densities. Thus, this combinatorial approach provides insights into the underlying chemical and physical mechanisms that govern stem cell fate decisions.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.