Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), derived from bone marrow stroma, are a promising source for tissue repair and regeneration, due to their excellent abilities for proliferation and multipotent differentiation. While accumulated evidences during the past decade have shown that MSCs are able to differentiate into osteoblasts, chondrocytes, myoblasts and adipocytes, more recent research suggest their potential in neuronal differentiation [1]. Chemical stimuli, including growth factors, hormones, and other regulatory molecules, are used traditionally to direct MSC differentiation. Our group has previously shown that the intracellular second messenger, cAMP, is able to initiate early phase neuron-like morphology changes and late phase neural differentiation in MSCs [2]. Studies using chemical stimuli alone, however, have shown limited success in differentiating MSCs to mature neurons, thereby suggesting other factors are necessary for this process. In recent years, interest has grown on the impact of mechanical stimulation, such as stiffness, surface topography, and mechanical stretching, on cell fate decision [3].

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