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  • Bhattacharya, Madhushree; Malinen, Melina M.; Lauren, Patrick; Lou, Yan-Ru; Kuisma, Saara W.; Kanninen, Liisa; Lille, Martina; Corlu, Anne; GuGuen-Guillouzo, Christiane; Ikkala, Olli; Laukkanen, Antti; Urtti, Arto; Yliperttula, Marjo (2012)
    Over the recent years, various materials have been introduced as potential 3D cell culture scaffolds. These include protein extracts, peptide amphiphiles, and synthetic polymers. Hydrogel scaffolds without human or animal borne components or added bioactive components are preferred from the immunological point of view. Here we demonstrate that native nanofibrillar cellulose (NFC) hydrogels derived from the abundant plant sources provide the desired functionalities. We show 1) rheological properties that allow formation of a 3D scaffold in-situ after facile injection, 2) cellular biocompatibility without added growth factors, 3) cellular polarization, and 4) differentiation of human hepatic cell lines HepaRG and HepG2. At high shear stress, the aqueous NFC has small viscosity that supports injectability, whereas at low shear stress conditions the material is converted to an elastic gel. Due to the inherent biocompatibility without any additives, we conclude that NFC generates a feasible and sustained microenvironment for 3D cell culture for potential applications, such as drug and chemical testing, tissue engineering, and cell therapy.
  • de Back, Walter; Zimm, Roland; Brusch, Lutz (2013)
    Background: Replacement of dysfunctional beta-cells in the islets of Langerhans by transdifferentiation of pancreatic acinar cells has been proposed as a regenerative therapy for diabetes. Adult acinar cells spontaneously revert to a multipotent state upon tissue dissociation in vitro and can be stimulated to redifferentiate into beta-cells. Despite accumulating evidence that contact-mediated signals are involved, the mechanisms regulating acinar-to-islet cell transdifferentiation remain poorly understood. Results: In this study, we propose that the crosstalk between two contact-mediated signaling mechanisms, lateral inhibition and lateral stabilization, controls cell fate stability and transdifferentiation of pancreatic cells. Analysis of a mathematical model combining gene regulation with contact-mediated signaling reveals the multistability of acinar and islet cell fates. Inhibition of one or both modes of signaling results in transdifferentiation from the acinar to the islet cell fate, either by dedifferentiation to a multipotent state or by direct lineage switching. Conclusions: This study provides a theoretical framework to understand the role of contact-mediated signaling in pancreatic cell fate control that may help to improve acinar-to-islet cell transdifferentiation strategies for beta-cell neogenesis.