Two‐Photon Polymerization as a Tool for Studying 3D Printed Topography‐Induced Stem Cell Fate
Geometric topographies are known to influence cellular differentiation toward specific phenotypes, but to date the range of features and type of substrates that can be easily fabricated to study these interactions is somewhat limited. In this study, an emerging technology, two‐photon polymerization, is used to print topological patterns with varying feature‐size and thereby study their effect on cellular differentiation. This technique offers rapid manufacturing of topographical surfaces with good feature resolution for shapes smaller than 3 µm. Human‐induced pluripotent stem cells, when attached to these substrates or a non‐patterned control for 1 week, express an array of genetic markers that suggest their differentiation toward a heterogeneous population of multipotent progenitors from all three germ layers. Compared to the topographically smooth control, small features (1.6 µm) encourage differentiation toward ectoderm while large features (8 µm) inhibit self‐renewal. This study demonstrates the potential of using two‐photon polymerization to study and control stem cell fate as a function of substrate interactions. The ability to tailor and strategically design biomaterials in this way can enable more precise and efficient generation or maintenance of desired phenotypes in vitro and in vivo.