Integrating human stem cell expansion and neuronal differentiation in bioreactors

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Background: Human stem cells are cellular resources with outstanding potential for cell therapy. However, for the fulfillment of this application, major challenges remain to be met. Of paramount importance is the development of robust systems for in vitro stem cell expansion and differentiation. In this work, we successfully developed an efficient scalable bioprocess for the fast production of human neurons. Results: The expansion of undifferentiated human embryonal carcinoma stem cells (NTera2/cl.D1 cell line) as 3D-aggregates was firstly optimized in spinner vessel. The media exchange operation mode with an inoculum concentration of 4 x 10(5) cell/mL was the most efficient strategy tested, with a 4.6-fold increase in cell concentration achieved in 5 days. These results were validated in a bioreactor where similar profile and metabolic performance were obtained. Furthermore, characterization of the expanded population by immunofluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry showed that NT2 cells maintained their stem cell characteristics along the bioreactor culture time. Finally, the neuronal differentiation step was integrated in the bioreactor process, by addition of retinoic acid when cells were in the middle of the exponential phase. Neurosphere composition was monitored and neuronal differentiation efficiency evaluated along the culture time. The results show that, for bioreactor cultures, we were able to increase significantly the neuronal differentiation efficiency by 10-fold while reducing drastically, by 30%, the time required for the differentiation process. Conclusion: The culture systems developed herein are robust and represent one-step-forward towards the development of integrated bioprocesses, bridging stem cell expansion and differentiation in fully controlled bioreactors.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)art82
JournalBmc Biotechnology
Issue numberNA
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

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