Development of biomaterials for cellular differentiation using a metabolomics approach

E. V. Alakpa, K. Burgess, V. Jayawarna, R. Ulijn, M. Dalby

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding how to mimic the physical characteristics of the extracellular matrix in vitro is an invaluable tool with regards to being able
to target stem cell differentiation along selective cell lineages. One such
physical characteristic is the innate elasticity of the cell substrate. Studies have shown that the rigidity of a substrate has considerable influence over cellular behaviourisms such as migration and differentiation.
Here we make use of liquid chromatography coupled to high mass
accuracy mass spectrometry (LC-MS) as an established method for
monitoring small changes in cell stasis. As such, this can be exploited
to envisage the cellular metabolome (the entire array of metabolites
that exist within a cell at any point in time). The interpretation of external cues by stem cells causes the activation or deactivation of several
proteins, consequently causing shifts in the metabolome. This effect
renders the metabolic profile of a cell to be highly indicative of its phenotype at that point in time. This is potentially of significance in stem
cell research as the cells are metabolically quiescent in their self-renewing state in their natural niches and the metabolome is thought to
become up regulated during differentiation. Investigating MSC metabolites during directed differentiation has enabled scrutiny of the cell
behaviour as phenotype is altered and has the potential to influence
the manner in which biomaterials are designed for cell culture in vitro.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-238
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue numberspecial issue 1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • biomaterials
  • cellular differentiation
  • metabolomics approach


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