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Free-energy-based framework for early forecasting of stem cell differentiation.

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Suresh, H 
Shishvan, S S 
Vigliotti, A 
Deshpande, V S 


Commitment of stem cells to different lineages is inherently stochastic but regulated by a range of environmental bio/chemo/mechanical cues. Here, we develop an integrated stochastic modelling framework for predicting the differentiation of hMSCs in response to a range of environmental cues, including sizes of adhesive islands, stiffness of substrates and treatment with ROCK inhibitors in both growth and mixed media. The statistical framework analyses the fluctuations of cell morphologies over approximately a 24 h period after seeding the cells in the specific environment and uses the cytoskeletal free-energy distribution to forecast the lineage the hMSCs will commit to. The cytoskeletal free energy which succinctly parametrizes the biochemical state of the cell is shown to capture hMSC commitment over a range of environments while simple morphological factors such as cell shape, tractions on their own are unable to correlate with lineages hMSCs adopt.



Stem Cell Differentiation, Free-energy Model, Homeostatic Mechanics

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