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Biotechnol Prog. 2010 Mar-Apr;26(2):548-55. doi: 10.1002/btpr.328.

Maintenance of pluripotency in mouse embryonic stem cells cultivated in stirred microcarrier cultures.

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COPPE, Chemical Engineering Program, Cell Culture Engineering Laboratory, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 21941-914, Brazil.


The development of efficient and reproducible culture systems for embryonic stem (ES) cells is an essential pre-requisite for regenerative medicine. Culture scale-up ensuring maintenance of cell pluripotency is a central issue, because large amounts of pluripotent cells must be generated to warrant that differentiated cells deriving thereof are transplanted in great amounts and survive the procedure. This study aimed to develop a robust scalable cell expansion system, using a murine embryonic stem cell line that is feeder-dependent and adapted to serum-free medium, thus representing a more realistic model for human ES cells. We showed that high concentrations of murine ES cells can be obtained in stirred microcarrier-based spinner cultures, with a 10-fold concentration of cells per volume of medium and a 5-fold greater cell concentration per surface area, as compared to static cultures. No differences in terms of pluripotency and differentiation capability were observed between cells grown in traditional static systems and cells that were replated onto the traditional system after being expanded on microcarriers in the stirred system. This was verified by morphological analyses, quantification of cells expressing important pluripotency markers (Oct-4, SSEA-1, and SOX2), karyotype profile, and the ability to form embryoid bodies with similar sizes, and maintaining their intrinsic ability to differentiate into all three germ layers.

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