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Title: Enzyme-responsive RGD-functionalised substrates to influence mesenchymal stem cells
Author: Roberts, Jemma Natasha
ISNI:       0000 0004 2750 8197
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2013
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Regenerative medicine is a rapidly expanding field of science with an exhaustive volume of literature published on the different strategies used to repair diseased or injured tissue. Recently, stem cells have emerged as a promising candidate in this regard owing to their involvement in embryogenesis, homeostatic turnover and normal tissue repair. Despite this potential, stem cell-based therapies have yet to be fully established in a clinical setting owing to complications associated with their limited numbers, immunogenicity, tumour formation and the ethical considerations surrounding their usage. Furthermore, the mechanisms underlying stem cell differentiation are complex and not fully understood, thus expanding stem cell numbers and predictably directing their commitment toward a desired lineage, represent a major challenge for tissue regeneration strategies. In an attempt to circumvent these problems there is currently a rising interest in biomimetic materials that aim to reproduce the physical architecture, chemical composition and plasticity of the in vivo extracellular environment in an in vitro setting. Furthermore, the need to expand stem cells while maintaining the stem cell phenotype has prompted many to look to the stem cell niche for answers. At the centre of most cellular responses to the physical cues embedded within the ECM are integrins. Integrins are mechanosensitive membrane spanning receptors that link the ECM to the cytoskeleton and thus transmit information from outside the cell into the nucleus, affecting gene transcription via a series of intracellular signalling cascades. To that end, many biomimetic systems incorporate integrin- binding ligands such as the tripeptide RGD. In this work glass surfaces functionalised with RGD were used to study changes in mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) responses to increased integrin binding by using an enzymatic ‘switch’ to reveal surface-bound RGD peptides that have been masked by a large chemical cap (Fmoc). The results of this work demonstrated that RGD- functionalised substrates can support MSC growth and influence them to commit to a particular fate. MSCs on surfaces where integrin-ligand binding was blocked developed a fibroblast-like phenotype whereas MSC grown on surfaces that were later enzymatically digested to reveal the underlying RGD ligands developed an osteoblast phenotype similar to RGD controls.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Q Science (General)