BACKGROUND:Merging stem cells with biomimetic materials represent an attractive approach to tissue engineering. The development of an alternative scaffold with the ability to mimic the extracellular matrix, and the 3D gradient preventing any alteration in cell metabolism or in their gene expression patterns, would have many medical applications. OBJECTIVE:In this study, we introduced the use of RGD (Arg-Gly-Asp) bio-conjugated cotton to promote the growth and proliferation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). METHODS:We measured the expression of stem cell markers and adhesion markers with Q-PCR and analyzed the transcriptomic. The results obtained showed that the MSCs, when cultured with bio-conjugated cotton fibers, form aggregates around the fibers while proliferating. The seeded MSCs with cotton fibers proliferated in a similar fashion to the cells seeded on the monolayer (population doubling level 1.88 and 2.19 respectively). RESULTS:The whole genome sequencing of cells adhering to these cotton fibers and cells adhering to the cell culture dish showed differently expressed genes and pathways in both populations. However, the expression of the stem cell markers (Oct4, cKit, CD105) and cell adhesion markers (CD29, HSPG2 and CD138), when examined with quantitative RT-PCR, was maintained in both cell populations. CONCLUSION:These results clearly show the ability of the cotton fibers to promote MSCs growth and proliferation in a 3D structure mimicking the in vivo environment without losing their stem cell phenotype.