Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Biomedical Engineering


Dr. Lauren Flynn


In the human body there are tissues with limited regenerative potential, raising the need for cell-based regenerative therapies. The main objective of this thesis was to examine how tissue-specific extracellular matrix (ECM) affects the differentiation of human adipose-derived stem/stromal cells (ASCs). The effects of incorporating milled, decellularized adipose (DAT) or cartilage (DCT) ECM particles on ASC lineage-specific differentiation in 3-D cell aggregate cultures were explored. The results demonstrated that the addition of ECM improved differentiation for both adipogenesis and chondrogenesis. Analysis of adipogenic gene and protein expression indicated enhanced differentiation in the DAT+ASC aggregates relative to the DCT+ASC and ASC-alone groups at 14 days. Additionally, chondrogenic studies showed that incorporating DCT had a positive effect on collagen II deposition and late chondrogenic marker expression at 28 days when compared to DAT+ASC or ASC-alone groups. Overall, these findings support the further investigation of ECM as a cell-instructive platform for ASC differentiation.