Tightly anchored tissue-mimetic matrices as instructive stem cell microenvironments

Marina Prewitz, F Philipp Seib, Malte von Bonin, Jens Friedrichs, Aline Stißel, Christian Niehage, Katrin Müller, Konstantinos Anastassiadis, Claudia Waskow, Bernard Hoflack, Martin Bornhäuser, Carsten Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Citations (Scopus)


A major obstacle in defining the exact role of extracellular matrix (ECM) in stem cell niches is the lack of suitable in vitro methods that recapitulate complex ECM microenvironments. Here we describe a methodology that permits reliable anchorage of native cell–secreted ECM to culture carriers. We validated our approach by fabricating two types of human bone marrow–specific ECM substrates that were robust enough to support human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in vitro. We characterized the molecular composition, structural features and nanomechanical properties of the MSC-derived ECM preparations and demonstrated their ability to support expansion and differentiation of bone marrow stem cells. Our methodology enables the deciphering and modulation of native-like multicomponent ECMs of tissue-resident stem cells and will therefore prepare the ground for a more rational design of engineered stem cell niches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788–794
Number of pages7
JournalNature Methods
Issue number8
Early online date23 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • stem cell niches
  • microenvironments
  • human bone marrow


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