Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology




1258993 (1-13)


We have previously shown that human and murine breast extracellular matrix (ECM) can significantly impact cellular behavior, including stem cell fate determination. It has been established that tissue-specific extracellular matrix from the central nervous system has the capacity to support neuronal survival. However, the characterization of its influence on stem cell differentiation and its adaptation to robust 3D culture models is underdeveloped. To address these issues, we combined our 3D bioprinter with hydrogels containing porcine brain extracellular matrix (BMX) to test the influence of the extracellular matrix on stem cell differentiation. Our 3D bioprinting system generated reproducible 3D neural structures derived from mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). We demonstrate that the addition of BMX preferentially influences 3D bioprinted mESCs towards neural lineages compared to standard basement membrane (Geltrex/Matrigel) hydrogels alone. Furthermore, we demonstrate that we can transplant these 3D bioprinted neural cellular structures into a mouse’s cleared mammary fat pad, where they continue to grow into larger neural outgrowths. Finally, we demonstrate that direct injection of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCS) and neural stem cells (NSCs) suspended in pure BMX formed neural structures in vivo. Combined, these findings describe a unique system for studying brain ECM/stem cell interactions and demonstrate that BMX can direct pluripotent stem cells to differentiate down a neural cellular lineage without any additional specific differentiation stimuli.


© 2023 Zamponi, Mollica, Khodour, Bjerring, Bruno and Sachs.

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Article states: "The authors acknowledge that the data presented in this study must be deposited and made publicly available in an acceptable repository, prior to publication. Frontiers cannot accept a manuscript that does not adhere to our open data policies."


0000-0002-9154-1667 (Zamponi), 0000-0002-0621-2819 (Mollica), 0000-0003-3329-9478 (Bruno), 0000-0002-0871-6789 (Sachs)

Original Publication Citation

Zamponi, M., Mollica, P. A., Khodour, Y., Bjerring, J. S., Bruno, R. D., & Sachs, P. C. (2023). Combined 3D bioprinting and tissue-specific ECM system reveals the influence of brain matrix on stem cell differentiation. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 11, 1-13, Article 1258993.

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