• Three-dimensional culture;
  • Hydrogel;
  • Neural tissue engineering;
  • Lineage restricted precursor cells


The goal of this research was to determine the effects of different growth factors on the survival and differentiation of murine embryonic stem cell-derived neural progenitor cells (ESNPCs) seeded inside of fibrin scaffolds. Embryoid bodies were cultured for 8 days in suspension, retinoic acid was applied for the final 4 days to induce ESNPC formation, and then the EBs were seeded inside of three-dimensional fibrin scaffolds. Scaffolds were cultured in the presence of media containing different doses of the following growth factors: neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-AA, ciliary neurotrophic factor, and sonic hedgehog (Shh). The cell phenotypes were characterized using fluorescence-activated cell sorting and immunohistochemistry after 14 days of culture. Cell viability was also assessed at this time point. Shh (10 ng/ml) and NT-3 (25 ng/ml) produced the largest fractions of neurons and oligodendrocytes, whereas PDGF (2 and 10 ng/ml) and bFGF (10 ng/ml) produced an increase in cell viability after 14 days of culture. Combinations of growth factors were tested based on the results of the individual growth factor studies to determine their effect on cell differentiation. The incorporation of ESNPCs and growth factors into fibrin scaffolds may serve as potential treatment for spinal cord injury.

Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.