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J Biotechnol. 2010 Jul 1;148(1):83-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2010.01.007. Epub 2010 Jan 18.

Detection of the osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells in 2D and 3D cultures by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy.

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Department of Biohybrid Systems, Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Ensheimer Str. 48, 66386 St. Ingbert, Germany.


Human mesenchymal stem cells are promising candidates for cell-based therapies since they have the capacity to differentiate into a variety of cell types. However, the acceptance of hMSCs for clinical applications as well as in vitro tissue models will depend on strategies for standard characterisations. Impedance spectroscopy is a proven and powerful tool for non-invasive monitoring of cellular processes. The aim of this study was to prove the hypothesis, that the process of osteogenic differentiation can be monitored non-invasively and time-continuously by using impedance spectroscopy. This hypothesis was examined for 2D cell layers of hMSCs by continuous impedance spectroscopy employing a planar electrode-based chip and for 3D aggregates of hMSCs after 21 and 25 days of osteogenic treatment by using a capillary measurement system. The impedance spectra of osteogenic treated hMSCs reported a significant increase of the magnitude of impedance compared to controls cultivated in normal growth medium. The osteogenic status of the cells was determined by alkaline phosphatase expression and von Kossa staining. In respect to that finding it is concluded that impedance spectroscopy is an appropriate method for non-invasive characterisation of osteogenic differentiation of hMSCs, which is relevant for quality control of cell-based implants and cell-based test systems for drug development.

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