Stem cells are known for their potential to repair damaged tissues. The adhesion, growth and differentiation of stem cells are likely controlled by the surrounding microenvironment which contains both chemical and physical cues. Physical cues in the microenvironment, for example, nanotopography, were shown to play important roles in stem cell fate decisions. Thus, controlling stem cell behavior by nanoscale topography has become an important issue in stem cell biology. Nanotechnology has emerged as a new exciting field and research from this field has greatly advanced. Nanotechnology allows the manipulation of sophisticated surfaces/scaffolds which can mimic the cellular environment for regulating cellular behaviors. Thus, we summarize recent studies on nanotechnology with applications to stem cell biology, including the regulation of stem cell adhesion, growth, differentiation, tracking and imaging. Understanding the interactions of nanomaterials with stem cells may provide the knowledge to apply to cell-scaffold combinations in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
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