Understanding the spatiotemporal dynamics of stem cell fate regulation is important for both
fundamental biology and for directing the generation of a specific phenotype during the fabrication of
tissue engineering materials. Recent findings revealed aspects of extracellular signals transduction by
mesenchymal stem cells that are further integrated to modulate their lineage specification. This review
focuses on recent developments in the field of nanobiomaterials design and fabrication for use in research
and therapy of bone tissue. Also, new methods of assessment of stem cell multipotency or differentiated
phenotype developed for clinical quality control applications are described. Materials engineered for understanding
fundamental mechanisms of stem cell interaction with substrates are highlighted as key studies
to drive advances in bone implants design. The use of polymers with defined biomechanical and topographical
features to mimic the extracellular matrix biochemistry or biophysical cues is discussed. Bioengineered
scaffolds able to induce osteogenic fate of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in
the absence of differentiation factors are successful models for potential development of implant biomaterials
with enhanced osseointegration capacity and decreased soft tissue encapsulation.
Keywords: Bone implants, extracellular matrix, mesenchymal stem cells, osteogenic induction, polymers, signaling.
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