Selected publications

Results Probl Cell Differ. 2018;66:207-230. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-93485-3_9.

Bioengineering of the Human Neural Stem Cell Niche: A Regulatory Environment for Cell Fate and Potential Target for Neurotoxicity.
Buzanska L 1, Zychowicz M 2, Kinsner-Ovaskainen A 3.
Author information:

1 Stem Cell Bioengineering Unit, Mossakowski Medical Research Centre Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2 Stem Cell Bioengineering Unit, Mossakowski Medical Research Centre Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland.

3 European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Directorate for Health Consumers and Reference Materials, Ispra, Italy.


Human neural stem/progenitor cells of the developing and adult organisms are surrounded by the microenvironment, so-called neurogenic niche. The developmental processes of stem cells, such as survival, proliferation, differentiation, and fate decisions, are controlled by the mutual interactions between cells and the niche components. Such interactions are tissue specific and determined by the biochemical and biophysical properties of the niche constituencies and the presence of other cell types. This dynamic approach of the stem cell niche, when translated into in vitro settings, requires building up "biomimetic" microenvironments resembling natural conditions, where the stem/progenitor cell is provided with diverse extracellular signals exerted by soluble and structural cues, mimicking those found in vivo. The neural stem cell niche is characterized by a unique composition of soluble components including neurotransmitters and trophic factors as well as insoluble extracellular matrix proteins and proteoglycans. Biotechnological innovations provide tools such as a new generation of tunable biomaterials capable of releasing specific signals in a spatially and temporally controlled manner, thus creating in vitro nature-like conditions and, when combined with stem cell-derived tissue specific progenitors, producing differentiated neuronal tissue structures. In addition, substantial progress has been made on the protocols to obtain stem cell-derived cell aggregates such as neurospheres and self-assembled organoids.In this chapter, we have assessed the application of bioengineered human neural stem cell microenvironments to produce in vitro models of different levels of biological complexity for the efficient control of stem cell fate. Examples of biomaterial-supported two-dimensional and three-dimensional (2D and 3D) complex culture systems that provide artificial neural stem cell niches are discussed in the context of their application for basic research and neurotoxicity testing.

Bioengineering; Neural stem cells; Neurotoxicity; Stem cell niche