Macromolecular Symposia

Cover image for Vol. 346 Issue 1

June 01, 2012

Stem Cells: Understanding Embryo Formation

Stem Cells: Understanding Embryo Formation

Roey Tzezana, Stanislav Reznik, Jacob Blumenthal, Eyal Zussman, and Shulamit Levenberg*

Specific processes in biology, especially the events leading to embryo formation, have always been perplexing, mainly due to our inability to replicate the process in vitro, or to form accurate models mimicking the processes which transpire in the young embryo. Development is highly influenced by morphogens and growth factors, naturally occurring substances that act as intercellular messengers and regulate cell migration, proliferation and differentiation. Levenberg and co-workers try to replicate the physicochemical microenvironment observed during the embryonic development by creating morphogenic gradients through the thickness of hydrospun scaffolds. Poly(ε-caprolactone) fibers were loaded with all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA), and designed to release it at a predetermined rate. The presented results indicate that morphogen gradients can regulate stem cell differentiation patterns. Future interdisciplinary studies of this nature will make use of this and other tissue engineering techniques toward obtaining further insights into the intricacies of developmental biology.

Macromol. Biosci., DOI: 10.1002/mabi.201100312

Other contributions to the article series on stem cells can be found here.

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