Published online Mar 26, 2018. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v10.i3.23
Peer-review started: February 19, 2018
First decision: March 13, 2018
Revised: March 20, 2018
Accepted: March 21, 2018
Article in press: March 21, 2018
Published online: March 26, 2018
The limited capacity of nervous system to promote a spontaneous regeneration and the high rate of neurodegenerative diseases appearance are keys factors that stimulate researches both for defining the molecular mechanisms of pathophysiology and for evaluating putative strategies to induce neural tissue regeneration. In this latter aspect, the application of stem cells seems to be a promising approach, even if the control of their differentiation and the maintaining of a safe state of proliferation should be troubled. Here, we focus on adipose tissue-derived stem cells and we seek out the recent advances on the promotion of their neural differentiation, performing a critical integration of the basic biology and physiology of adipose tissue-derived stem cells with the functional modifications that the biophysical, biomechanical and biochemical microenvironment induces to cell phenotype. The pre-clinical studies showed that the neural differentiation by cell stimulation with growth factors benefits from the integration with biomaterials and biophysical interaction like microgravity. All these elements have been reported as furnisher of microenvironments with desirable biological, physical and mechanical properties. A critical review of current knowledge is here proposed, underscoring that a real advance toward a stable, safe and controllable adipose stem cells clinical application will derive from a synergic multidisciplinary approach that involves material engineer, basic cell biology, cell and tissue physiology.
Core tip: Adipose-derived stem cells are easily accessible from liposuction, obtained in large quantity and cultured for several months with low levels of senescence. Moreover, they could be induced toward a neural phenotype in vitro. The preclinical studies show that microenvironment has a predominant role. Our objective is to consolidate the current literature to better delineate the functional response of adipose-derived stem cells to biochemical, biophysical or dimensional stimuli. Specifically, chemicals - like drugs and growth factors-biomaterials and microgravity are here discussed as both single and co-applied parameters for inducing a neural lineage.