Nanofibrous scaffold-mediated REST knockdown to enhance neuronal differentiation of stem cells
Low, Wei Ching
Messersmith, Phillip B.
Stanton, Lawrence W.
Chew, Sing Yian
Date of Issue2013
School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
At present, the recovery prospect for patients with chronic neurodegenerative diseases or acute trauma in the central nervous system is sub-optimal. The controlled differentiation of neural stem/progenitor cells (NPCs) to functional neurons is a possible treatment strategy. In contrast to the classical approach of biochemicals supplementation for guided stem cell commitment, this study explores the feasibility of directing neuronal differentiation through synergistic integration of three-dimensional nanofibrous topographical cues and scaffold-mediated knockdown of RE-1 silencing transcription factor (REST) in mouse NPCs. Taking advantage of the strong adhesive property and latent reactivity of mussel-inspired polydopamine (PD) coating, electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibers were successfully functionalized with REST siRNAs (denoted as siREST PD-fiber). Sustained REST knockdown in NPCs was achieved for up to five days in vitro and the silencing efficiency was significantly higher than that mediated through siRNA adsorption onto non-PD coated sample controls. The silencing of REST, together with nanofiber topographical effect, significantly enhanced NPC neuronal commitment (57.5% Map2+ cells in siREST PD-fiber vs. 43.5% in siREST PD-film vs. 50% in PD-fiber controls, p < 0.05) while reducing astrocytic and oligodendrocytic differentiation (10.7% O4+ cells vs. ∼30% in siREST PD-film, p < 0.01). Taken together, the synergistic effects of scaffold-mediated REST knockdown and topographical cues from PD-modified nanofibers may be a useful strategy for generating functional neurons for therapeutic purposes.
© 2013 Elsevier.