Novel approach for neuronal stem cell differentiation using aqueous two-phase systems in 3D cultures
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© 2020 Society of Chemical Industry (SCI)Stem cell therapy has emerged as a promising alternative for replacing lost cells involved in neurodegenerative diseases. High efficiency of differentiation and full cell viability are actual challenges to achieve the translation of cell therapies to the clinic. To address this, the construction of aqueous two-phase systems in three-dimensional (ATPS-3D) cultures has been proposed. This technique involves the combination of two polymers in which cells are confined in dextran droplets immersed over a substrate located in a poly(ethylene glycol) phase. The controlled placement of cells in a defined pattern promotes intercellular communication. This review aims to provide insight into the techniques used to enhance neural differentiation and current challenges to achieve the implementation of cell therapies. Cell density, colony size, interconnectivity and an appropriate substrate to modulate paracrine signaling are factors that determine neural differentiation efficiency during the construction of ATPS-3D cultures. Hence, this contact-free technique enables the design of neural niches to recapitulate in vivo environments more accurately. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry (SCI).