Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 1014–1023 | Cite as

The Combination of Electric Current and Copper Promotes Neuronal Differentiation of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells

  • L. Jaatinen
  • S. Salemi
  • S. Miettinen
  • J. Hyttinen
  • D. Eberli


Damage to the nervous system can be caused by several types of insults, and it always has a great effect on the life of an individual. Due to the limited availability of neural transplants, alternative approaches for neural regeneration must be developed. Stem cells have a great potential to support neuronal regeneration. Human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs) have gained increasing interest in the fields of regenerative medicine due to their multilineage potential and easy harvest compared to other stem cells. In this study, we present a growth factor-free method for the differentiation of hADSCs toward neuron-like cells. We investigated the effect of electric current and copper on neuronal differentiation. We analyzed the morphological changes, the mRNA and protein expression levels in the stimulated cells and showed that the combination of current and copper induces stem cell differentiation toward the neuronal lineage with elongation of the cells and the upregulation of neuron-specific genes and proteins. The induction of the neuronal differentiation of hADSCs by electric field and copper may offer a novel approach for stem cell differentiation and may be a useful tool for safe stem cell-based therapeutic applications.


Adipose-derived stem cell Electric current Copper Differentiation Neurons 



This work was mainly funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. The work was performed in the Laboratory of Biosensors and Bioelectronics at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland and we are most grateful of their scientific and financial support.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Jaatinen
    • 1
  • S. Salemi
    • 2
  • S. Miettinen
    • 3
  • J. Hyttinen
    • 1
  • D. Eberli
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Electronics and Communications EngineeringTampere University of Technology and BioMediTechTampereFinland
  2. 2.Urologic Tissue Engineering and Stem Cell Therapy, Department of UrologyUniversity Hospital ZürichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Adult Stem Cells, Institute of Biomedical TechnologyUniversity of TampereTampereFinland

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