For many tissue engineering applications, an important goal is to create functional tissues in vitro. In order to make such tissues viable, they have to be vascularized. Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) are a promising candidate for vascularization. Growth supplements are commonly used to induce BMSCs differentiation, and further improvements in differentiation conditions can be achieved by modifying the cells’ growth environment, such as pretreating the culture dish with gas plasma to modify the surface functional groups that the cells are seeded on. In this work, we compare the effects of different gas plasmas on the growth and differentiation of BMSCs. We treat the growth dish with different plasmas (CO2, N2, and O2) and induce BMSC differentiation on them with endothelial growth medium-2 (EGM-2). We find that EGM-2 by itself does not have strong effect on endothelial differentiation. However, we find that plasma treatment markedly increases the mRNA expression of endothelial cell markers. Interestingly, we also find that the upregulation of osteogenic markers. The data show that plasma treatment in conjunction with EGM-2 can enhance BMSCs differentiation into both endothelial-like cells and osteogenic-like cells. The effects of EGM-2 on BMSCs differentiation are influenced by the plasma-modified surface of the substrate. Our findings provide a method to enhance EGM-2-based cell differentiation, with consequences for tissue engineering and stem cell biology applications.
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