Biochemical and structural cues of 3D-printed matrix synergistically direct MSC differentiation for functional sweat gland regeneration

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Science Advances  04 Mar 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 10, eaaz1094
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz1094


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) encapsulation by three-dimensionally (3D) printed matrices were believed to provide a biomimetic microenvironment to drive differentiation into tissue-specific progeny, which made them a great therapeutic potential for regenerative medicine. Despite this potential, the underlying mechanisms of controlling cell fate in 3D microenvironments remained relatively unexplored. Here, we bioprinted a sweat gland (SG)–like matrix to direct the conversion of MSC into functional SGs and facilitated SGs recovery in mice. By extracellular matrix differential protein expression analysis, we identified that CTHRC1 was a critical biochemical regulator for SG specification. Our findings showed that Hmox1 could respond to the 3D structure activation and also be involved in MSC differentiation. Using inhibition and activation assay, CTHRC1 and Hmox1 synergistically boosted SG gene expression profile. Together, these findings indicated that biochemical and structural cues served as two critical impacts of 3D-printed matrix on MSC fate decision into the glandular lineage and functional SG recovery.

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