Publication Details

Chen, J., Crawford, R., Chen, C. & Xiao, Y. (2013). The key regulatory roles of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in the functionalities of mesenchymal stem cells and applications in tissue regeneration. Tissue Engineering Part B: Reviews, 19 (6), 516-528.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells that can differentiate into various cell types and have been widely used in tissue engineering application. In tissue engineering, a scaffold, MSCs and growth factors are used as essential components and their interactions have been regarded to be important for regeneration of tissues. A critical problem for MSCs in tissue engineering is their low survival ability and functionality. Most MSCs are going to be apoptotic after transplantation. Therefore, increasing MSC survival ability and functionalities is the key for potential applications of MSCs. Several approaches have been studied to increase MSC tissue forming capacity including application of growth factors, overexpression of stem cell regulatory genes, and improvement of biomaterials for scaffolds. The effects of these approaches on MSCs have been associated with activation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathway. The pathway plays central regulatory roles in MSC survival, proliferation, migration, angiogenesis, cytokine production, and differentiation. In this review, we summarize and discuss the literatures related to the roles of the PI3K/Akt pathway in the functionalities of MSCs and the involvement of the pathway in biomaterials-increased MSC functionalities. Biomaterials have been modified in their properties and surface structure and loaded with growth factors to increase MSC functionalities. Several studies demonstrated that the biomaterials-increased MSC functionalities are mediated by the activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway.



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