Improved neural differentiation of stem cells mediated by magnetic nanoparticle-based biophysical stimulation

Ran Dai, Yingjie Hang, Qi Liu, Sixuan Zhang, Lei Wang*, Yue Pan, and Hong Chen*. Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 2019, 7, 4161-4168.


Stem cell therapy shows great potential in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, in which efficient neural differentiation of stem cells is still challenging. In this work, a new strategy based on magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (MIONs) was developed to induce neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). The mechanical forces of the magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles and the magnetic field significantly promoted the differentiation of the embryonic stem cells into nerve cells, and the promotion effect did not depend on the neural differentiation medium. Most importantly, under a combination of the three factors, neural differentiation of mESCs was significantly promoted, and the expression level of mature nerve cell marker genes was increased by 60 times. The results indicated that the synergistic effect of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, a magnetic field and a neural differentiation medium could significantly promote the neural differentiation of embryonic stem cells. What's more, our study provided a harmless, permeating, remote controllable, and biophysical method for promoting the neural differentiation of stem cells, which had great potential for practical applications.


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