Developing defined substrates for stem cell culture and differentiation

Louise Hagbard, Katherine Cameron, Paul August, Christopher Penton, Malin Parmar, David C. Hay, Therése Kallur

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (SciVal)


Over the past few decades, a variety of different reagents for stem cell maintenance and differentiation have been commercialized. These reagents share a common goal in facilitating the manufacture of products suitable for cell therapy while reducing the amount of non-defined components. Lessons from developmental biology have identified signalling molecules that can guide the differentiation process in vitro, but less attention has been paid to the extracellular matrix used. With the introduction of more biologically relevant and defined matrices, that better mimic specific cell niches, researchers now have powerful resources to fine-tune their in vitro differentiation systems, which may allow the manufacture of therapeutically relevant cell types. In this review article, we revisit the basics of the extracellular matrix, and explore the important role of the cell –matrix interaction. We focus on laminin proteins because they help to maintain pluripotency and drive cell fate specification. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Designer human tissue: coming to a lab near you’.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20170230
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1750
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 5

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cell and Molecular Biology


  • Cell culture
  • Cell therapy
  • Defined substrates
  • Human pluripotent stem cells
  • Human recombinant laminins


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