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Cytotechnology. 2003 Jan;41(1):23-35. doi: 10.1023/A:1024283521966.

Culturing and differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells in a three-dimensional fibrous matrix.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, 43210, USA.


Embryonic stem (ES) cells have indefinite self-renewal ability and pluripotency, and can provide a novel cell source for tissue engineering applications. In this study, a murine CCE ES cell line was used to derive hematopoietic cells in a 3-D fibrous matrix. The 3-D matrix was found to maintain the phenotypes of undifferentiated ES cells as indicated by alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and stage specific embryonic antigen-1 (SSEA-1) expression. In hematopoietic differentiation, cells from 3-D culture exhibited similar cell cycle distribution and SSEA-1 expression to those in the initial cell population. The Oct-4 expression was significantly down-regulated, which indicated the occurrence of differentiation, although the level was slightly higher than that in Petri dish culture. The expression of c-kit, cell surface marker for hematopoietic progenitor, was higher in the 3-D culture, suggesting a better-directed hematopoietic differentiation. Cells in the 3-D matrix tended to form large aggregates associated with fibers. For large-scale processes, a perfusion bioreactor can be used for both maintenance and differentiation cultures. As compared to the static culture, a higher growth rate and final cell density were resulted from the perfusion bioreactor due to better control of the reactor environment. At the same time, the differentiation capacity of ES cells was preserved in the perfusion culture. The ES cell culture in the fibrous matrix thus can be used as a 3-D model system to study effects of extracellular environment and associated physico-chemical parameters on ES cell maintenance and differentiation.

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