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Biotechnol Prog. 2011 May-Jun;27(3):811-23. doi: 10.1002/btpr.591. Epub 2011 Apr 27.

Efficient suspension bioreactor expansion of murine embryonic stem cells on microcarriers in serum-free medium.

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  • 1Pharmaceutical Production Research Facility, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4.


Large numbers of cells will be required for successful embryonic stem cell (ESC)-based cellular therapies or drug discovery, thus raising the need to develop scaled-up bioprocesses for production of ESCs and their derived progeny. Traditionally, ESCs have been propagated in adherent cultures in static flasks on fibroblasts layers in serum-containing medium. Direct translation of two-dimensional flatbed cultures to large-scale production of the quantities of cells required for therapy simply by increasing the number of dishes or flasks is not practical or economical. Here, we describe successful scaled-up production of ESCs on microcarriers in a stirred culture system in a serum-free medium. Cells expanded on CultiSpher S, Cytodex 3, and Collagen microcarriers showed superior cell-fold expansions of 439, 193, and 68, respectively, without excessive agglomeration, compared with 27 in static culture. In addition, the ESCs maintained their pluripotency after long-term culture (28 days) in serum-free medium. This is the first time mESCs have been cultured on microcarriers without prior exposure to serum and/or fibroblasts, while also eliminating the excessive agglomeration plaguing earlier studies. These protocols provide an economical, practical, serum-free means for expanding ESCs in a stirred suspension bioprocess.

Copyright © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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