Stem cell therapy is a promising option for regenerative of injured or diseased tissues. However, the extremely low survival and engraftment of transplanted cells and the obviously inadequate recruitment and activation of the endogenous resident stem cells are the major challenges for stem cell therapy. Fortunately, recent progresses show that extracellular matrix (ECM) could not only act as a spatial and mechanical scaffold to enhance cell viability but also provide a supportive niche for engraftment or accelerating stem cell differentiation. These findings provide a new approach for increasing the efficiency of stem cell therapy and may lead to substantial changes in cell administration. In order to take a giant stride forward in stem cell therapy, we need to know much more about how the ECM affects cell behaviours. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the influence of ECM on regulating stem cell maintenance and differentiation. Moreover, the enhancement of supportive microenvironment function of natural or synthetic ECMs in stem cell therapy is discussed.
Part of the book: Composition and Function of the Extracellular Matrix in the Human Body