Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell expansion in contact with mesenchymal stromal cells in a hanging drop model uncovers disadvantages of 3D culture

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Abstract

<p> Efficient <italic>ex vivo</italic> expansion of hematopoietic stem cells with a concomitant preservation of stemness and self-renewal potential is still an unresolved ambition. Increased numbers of methods approaching this issue using three-dimensional (3D) cultures were reported. Here, we describe a simplified 3D hanging drop model for the coculture of cord blood-derived CD34 <sup>+</sup> hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). When seeded as a mixed cell suspension, MSCs segregated into tight spheroids. Despite the high expression of niche-specific extracellular matrix components by spheroid-forming MSCs, HSPCs did not migrate into the spheroids in the initial phase of coculture, indicating strong homotypic interactions of MSCs. After one week, however, HSPC attachment increased considerably, leading to spheroid collapse as demonstrated by electron microscopy and immunofluorescence staining. In terms of HSPC proliferation, the conventional 2D coculture system was superior to the hanging drop model. Furthermore, expansion of primitive hematopoietic progenitors was more favored in 2D than in 3D, as analyzed in colony-forming assays. Conclusively, our data demonstrate that MSCs, when arranged with a spread (monolayer) shape, exhibit better HSPC supportive qualities than spheroid-forming MSCs. Therefore, 3D systems are not necessarily superior to traditional 2D culture in this regard. </p>

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Schmal, O., Seifert, J., Schäffer, T. E., Walter, C. B., Aicher, W. K., & Klein, G. (2016). Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell expansion in contact with mesenchymal stromal cells in a hanging drop model uncovers disadvantages of 3D culture. Stem Cells International, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/4148093

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