Chapter 9: Hydrogel-based 3D Scaffolds for Stem Cell Culturing and Differentiation
Published:27 Sep 2018
Stem cell culturing and differentiation is a very important research direction for tissue engineering. Thermogels are well suited for encapsulating cells because of their non-biotoxic and mild sol-to-gel transition as temperature increases. In particular, thermogels provide a 3D environment for stem cell growth, which is more similar to the extracellular matrix than flat substrates. So thermogels as a medium can overcome many of the cell abnormalities caused by 2D cell growth. In this review, we summarize the applications of thermogels in cell and stem cell culture in recent years. We also elaborate on the methods to induce stem cell differentiation by using thermogel-based 3D scaffolds. In particular, the thermogels, encapsulating specific differentiation-inducing factor and having specific structures and moduli, can induce the differentiation into the desired tissue cells. 3D thermogel scaffolds that control the growth and differentiation of cells will undoubtedly have a bright future in regenerative medicine.