Early tissue patterning recreated by mouse embryonic fibroblasts in a three-dimensional environment

Lluís Quintana, Teresa Fernández Muiños, Elsa Genové, María Del Mar Olmos, Salvador Borrós, Carlos E. Semino

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cellular self-organization studies have been mainly focused on models such as Volvox, the slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum, and animal (metazoan) embryos. Moreover, animal tissues undergoing regeneration also exhibit properties of embryonic systems such as the self-organization process that rebuilds tissue complexity and function. We speculated that the recreation in vitro of the biological, biophysical, and biomechanical conditions similar to those of a regenerative milieu could elicit the intrinsic capacity of differentiated cells to proceed to the development of a tissue-like structure. Here we show that, when primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts are cultured in a soft nanofiber scaffold, they establish a cellular network that causes an organized cell contraction, proliferation, and migration that ends in the formation of a symmetrically bilateral structure with a distinct central axis. A subset of mesodermal genes (brachyury, Sox9, Runx2) is upregulated during this morphogenetic process. The expression of brachyury was localized first at the central axis, extending then to both sides of the structure. The spontaneous formation of cartilage-like tissue mainly at the paraxial zone followed expression of Sox9 and Runx2. Because cellular self-organization is an intrinsic property of the tissues undergoing development, this model could lead to new ways to consider tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-54
Number of pages10
JournalTissue Engineering - Part A
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

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