Role of the Extracellular Matrix in Stem Cell Maintenance
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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.
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.
KeywordsExtracellular 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.
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.
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