Novel triblock co-polymer nanofibre system as an alternative support for embryonic stem cells growth and pluripotency

Authors

  • Ana Rubina Perestrelo,

    1. Laboratory of Embryology and Genetic Manipulation, Regenerative Medicine Programme, Departamento de Ciências Biomédicas e Medicina (DCBM), Universidade do Algarve, Portugal
    2. Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centro de Biomedicina Estrutural e Molecular (IBB/CBME), Universidade do Algarve, Portugal
    3. PhD Programme in Biomedical Sciences, Universidade do Algarve, Portugal
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  • Fouzi Mouffouk,

    1. Kuwait University, Faculty of Science, Chemistry Department, Kuwait
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  • Ana M. Rosa da Costa,

    1. Centro de Investigação em Química do Algarve (CIQA) and Departamento de Química e Farmácia, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade do Algarve, Portugal
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  • José António Belo

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Embryology and Genetic Manipulation, Regenerative Medicine Programme, Departamento de Ciências Biomédicas e Medicina (DCBM), Universidade do Algarve, Portugal
    2. Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centro de Biomedicina Estrutural e Molecular (IBB/CBME), Universidade do Algarve, Portugal
    • Correspondence to: José António Belo, Laboratório de Embriologia e Manipulação Genética, Regenerative Medicine Programme, Departamento de Ciências Biomédicas e Medicina (DCBM), IBB/CBME, Universidade do Algarve, Ed 8, Lab 3.29, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal. E-mail: jbelo@ualg.pt

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Abstract

Conventionally, embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are cultured on gelatin or over a mitotically inactivated monolayer of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFsi). Considering the lack of versatile, non-animal-derived and inexpensive materials for that purpose, we aimed to find a biomaterial able to support ESC growth in a pluripotent state that avoids the need for laborious and time-consuming MEFsi culture in parallel with mouse ESC (mESC) culture. Undifferentiated mESCs were cultured in a new nanofibre material designed for ESC culture, which is based on the self-assembly of a triblock co-polymer, poly(ethyleneglycol-β-trimethylsilyl methacrylate-β-methacrylic acid), conjugated with the peptide glycine–arginine–glycine–aspartate–serine, to evaluate its potential application in ESC research. The morphology, proliferation, viability, pluripotency and differentiation potential of mESCs were assessed. Compared to conventional stem cell culture methodologies, the nanofibres promoted a higher increase in mESCs number, enhanced pluripotency and were able to support differentiation after long-term culture. This newly developed synthetic system allows the elimination of animal-derived matrices and provides an economic method of ESC culture, made of a complex network of nanofibres in a scale similar to native extracellular matrices, where the functional properties of the cells can be observed and manipulated. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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