Biocompatible Polymer Microfibers Promote Adult Neural Stem Cell Proliferation and Differentiation
The central nervous system (CNS) has a limited ability to repair itself. In an effort to repair the CNS, stem cells can be transplanted into the damaged area. However, these cells often show limited survival and integration due to lack of support. This project explores a potential method of neural stem cell delivery to the CNS using biocompatible microfibers. Poly (ε-caprolactone), a FDA approved polymer, is used to make microfibers with various diameters and shapes in hopes of creating a suitable microenvironment for stem cells to grow and differentiate. The cells used are adult hippocampal progenitor cells (AHPCs), which can differentiate into neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. This project investigates the adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation of rat AHPCs on microfibers in vitro using fluorescent microscopy. Our results indicate that PCL microfibers support cell adhesion and survival. Additionally, microfibers showed an increase in cell proliferation and astrocyte differentiation when compared to planar controls. These results suggest that the microfibers may be specifically supporting gliogenesis. In conclusion, PCL microfibers can support the adherence, proliferation, and differentiation of AHPCs in vitro. Future studies will investigate the ability of the microfibers to support transplanted stem cells in vivo.