High density cultures of embryonic stem cells



Embryonic stem cells (ESC) have the unique ability to differentiate into a variety of tissue types. However, the realization of regenerative medicine will require the production of large quantities of ESC which subsequently have to be differentiated into the final phenotype. Thus, we sought to develop a simple and scaleable bioprocess to increase densities of ESC to achieve this goal. Using mouse embryonic stem cells (mESC) as a model, by combining automated feeding and culture of mESC on petriperm dishes, cell densities were enhanced up to 6.4 × 106 cells/cm2 compared to conventional petri dish culture which only reached 0.2 to 1.4 × 106 cells/cm2. It was found that mESC from all experiments maintained excellent viability, pluripotency, and genetic stability after growing for 6 days in petriperm cultures with automated feeding. The expression of Oct-4 transcription factor was observed in all cultures, mESC formed embryoid bodies in differentiated cultures and teratomas in SCID mice, confirming their pluripotency, and karyotype of the cultures was normal. This culture method was stable for routine passaging and a second mESC cell line was shown to perform in a similar manner on petriperm with automated feeding. This work represents an important step towards achieving high density cultures of ESC. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.