Role of the Extracellular Matrix in Stem Cell Maintenance

  • Ana Pardo-Saganta
  • Isabel A. Calvo
  • Borja SaezEmail author
  • Felipe ProsperEmail author
Cell:Cell Interactions in Stem Cell Maintenance (D Bonnet, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Cell:Cell Interactions in Stem Cell Maintenance


Purpose of Review

Stem cells reside in specialized anatomical locations called niches where supportive stromal cells and the extracellular matrix (ECM) regulate their self-renewal and differentiation. This review explores the critical roles of the ECM in stem cell maintenance in tissue homeostasis, aging, and disease.

Recent Findings

It is well established that ECM proteins and their biomechanical properties control stem cell fate. In addition to specific molecular interactions, the ECM composition determines the topology and stiffness of the substrate, which also regulate stem cell behavior. Changes in the ECM during aging and disease can impair cell-ECM interactions and ultimately contribute to aging and disease pathogenesis.


A deeper understanding of the mechanisms by which the ECM regulates stem cell behavior in health, as well as during aging and in disease states, will facilitate the development of therapeutic strategies. These therapies should focus on recovering normal matrix synthesis and deposition aiming at promoting endogenous repair.


Extracellular matrix Adult stem cells Stem cell niche Biomechanics Tissue engineering Organoids 



Due to space limitations, a great body of literature has not been cited in this work; we apologize to our colleagues for the omission of their contribution.

Funding Information

This work has been partially funded by grants from ISCIII PI17/01346 and RD16/0011/0005, MINECO RYC-2015-18580 and SAF2017-89908-R, Gobierno de Navarra GNS80/2016, AECC, and AEFAT.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Regenerative MedicineCenter for Applied Medical ResearchPamplonaSpain
  2. 2.Hematology-Oncology DepartmentCenter for Applied Medical ResearchPamplonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of HematologyClínica Universidad de NavarraPamplonaSpain

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