Unraveling the mechanistic effects of electric field stimulation towards directing stem cell fate and function: A tissue engineering perspective

Greeshma Thrivikraman, Sunil Kumar Boda, Bikramjit Basu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

251 Scopus citations


Electric field (EF) stimulation can play a vital role in eliciting appropriate stem cell response. Such an approach is recently being established to guide stem cell differentiation through osteogenesis/neurogenesis/cardiomyogenesis. Despite significant recent efforts, the biophysical mechanisms by which stem cells sense, interpret and transform electrical cues into biochemical and biological signals still remain unclear. The present review critically analyses the variety of EF stimulation approaches that can be employed to evoke appropriate stem cell response and also makes an attempt to summarize the underlying concepts of this notion, placing special emphasis on stem cell based tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. This review also discusses the major signaling pathways and cellular responses that are elicited by electric stimulation, including the participation of reactive oxygen species and heat shock proteins, modulation of intracellular calcium ion concentration, ATP production and numerous other events involving the clustering or reassembling of cell surface receptors, cytoskeletal remodeling and so on. The specific advantages of using external electric stimulation in different modalities to regulate stem cell fate processes are highlighted with explicit examples, in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-86
Number of pages27
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from Stem cell task force of Department of Biotechnology (DBT) , Government of India. The authors would also like to acknowledge “Translational Center on Biomaterials for Orthopedic and Dental Applications” Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India for financial assistance. Also, the National Network for Mathematical and computational biology is acknowledged.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cell surface receptors (CSR)
  • Exogenous and endogenous electric field (EF)
  • Heat shock proteins (HSP)
  • Intracellular calcium [Ca]
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  • Stem cell response


Dive into the research topics of 'Unraveling the mechanistic effects of electric field stimulation towards directing stem cell fate and function: A tissue engineering perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this