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  1. Sung TC, Su HC, Ling QD, Kumar SS, Chang Y, Hsu ST, et al.
    Biomaterials, 2020 Sep;253:120060.
    PMID: 32450407 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2020.120060
    The current differentiation process of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) into cardiomyocytes to enhance the purity of hPSC-derived cardiomyocytes requires some purification processes, which are laborious processes. We developed cell sorting plates, which are prepared from coating thermoresponsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) and extracellular matrix proteins. After hPSCs were induced into cardiomyocytes on the thermoresponsive surface coated with laminin-521 for 15 days, the temperature of the cell culture plates was decreased to 8-9 °C to detach the cells partially from the thermoresponsive surface. The detached cells exhibited a higher cardiomyocyte marker of cTnT than the remaining cells on the thermoresponsive surface as well as the cardiomyocytes after purification using conventional cell selection. The detached cells expressed several cardiomyocyte markers, such as α-actinin, MLC2a and NKX2.5. This study suggested that the purification of hPSC-derived cardiomyocytes using cell sorting plates with the thermoresponsive surface is a promising method for the purification of hPSC-derived cardiomyocytes without conventional laborious processes.
  2. Sung TC, Liu CH, Huang WL, Lee YC, Kumar SS, Chang Y, et al.
    Biomater Sci, 2019 Oct 28.
    PMID: 31656967 DOI: 10.1039/c9bm00817a
    Current xeno-free and chemically defined methods for the differentiation of hPSCs (human pluripotent stem cells) into cardiomyocytes are not efficient and are sometimes not reproducible. Therefore, it is necessary to develop reliable and efficient methods for the differentiation of hPSCs into cardiomyocytes for future use in cardiovascular research related to drug discovery, cardiotoxicity screening, and disease modeling. We evaluated two representative differentiation methods that were reported previously, and we further developed original, more efficient methods for the differentiation of hPSCs into cardiomyocytes under xeno-free, chemically defined conditions. The developed protocol successively differentiated hPSCs into cardiomyocytes, approximately 90-97% of which expressed the cardiac marker cTnT, with beating speeds and sarcomere lengths that were similar to those of a healthy adult human heart. The optimal cell culture biomaterials for the cardiac differentiation of hPSCs were also evaluated using extracellular matrix-mimetic material-coated dishes. Synthemax II-coated and Laminin-521-coated dishes were found to be the most effective and efficient biomaterials for the cardiac differentiation of hPSCs according to the observation of hPSC-derived cardiomyocytes with high survival ratios, high beating colony numbers, a similar beating frequency to that of a healthy adult human heart, high purity levels (high cTnT expression) and longer sarcomere lengths similar to those of a healthy adult human heart.
  3. Higuchi A, Wang CT, Ling QD, Lee HH, Kumar SS, Chang Y, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2015;5:10217.
    PMID: 25970301 DOI: 10.1038/srep10217
    Human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs) exhibit heterogeneous characteristics, indicating various genotypes and differentiation abilities. The isolated hADSCs can possess different purity levels and divergent properties depending on the purification methods used. We developed a hybrid-membrane migration method that purifies hADSCs from a fat tissue solution with extremely high purity and pluripotency. A primary fat-tissue solution was permeated through the porous membranes with a pore size from 8 to 25 μm, and the membranes were incubated in cell culture medium for 15-18 days. The hADSCs that migrated from the membranes contained an extremely high percentage (e.g., >98%) of cells positive for mesenchymal stem cell markers and showed almost one order of magnitude higher expression of some pluripotency genes (Oct4, Sox2, Klf4 and Nanog) compared with cells isolated using the conventional culture method.
  4. Chen DC, Chen LY, Ling QD, Wu MH, Wang CT, Suresh Kumar S, et al.
    Biomaterials, 2014 May;35(14):4278-87.
    PMID: 24565521 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.02.004
    The purification of human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs) from human adipose tissue cells (stromal vascular fraction) was investigated using membrane filtration through poly(lactide-co-glycolic acid)/silk screen hybrid membranes. Membrane filtration methods are attractive in regenerative medicine because they reduce the time required to purify hADSCs (i.e., less than 30 min) compared with conventional culture methods, which require 5-12 days. hADSCs expressing the mesenchymal stem cell markers CD44, CD73, and CD90 were concentrated in the permeation solution from the hybrid membranes. Expression of the surface markers CD44, CD73, and CD99 on the cells in the permeation solution from the hybrid membranes, which were obtained using 18 mL of feed solution containing 50 × 10⁴ cells, was statistically significantly higher than that of the primary adipose tissue cells, indicating that the hADSCs can be purified in the permeation solution by the membrane filtration method. Cells expressing the stem cell-associated marker CD34 could be successfully isolated in the permeation solution, whereas CD34⁺ cells could not be purified by the conventional culture method. The hADSCs in the permeation solution demonstrated a superior capacity for osteogenic differentiation based on their alkali phosphatase activity, their osterix gene expression, and the results of mineralization analysis by Alizarin Red S and von Kossa staining compared with the cells from the suspension of human adipose tissue. These results suggest that the hADSCs capable of osteogenic differentiation preferentially permeate through the hybrid membranes.
  5. Higuchi A, Kao SH, Ling QD, Chen YM, Li HF, Alarfaj AA, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2015 Dec 14;5:18136.
    PMID: 26656754 DOI: 10.1038/srep18136
    The tentative clinical application of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), such as human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells, is restricted by the possibility of xenogenic contamination resulting from the use of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) as a feeder layer. Therefore, we investigated hPSC cultures on biomaterials with different elasticities that were grafted with different nanosegments. We prepared dishes coated with polyvinylalcohol-co-itaconic acid hydrogels grafted with an oligopeptide derived from vitronectin (KGGPQVTRGDVFTMP) with elasticities ranging from 10.3 to 30.4 kPa storage moduli by controlling the crosslinking time. The hPSCs cultured on the stiffest substrates (30.4 kPa) tended to differentiate after five days of culture, whereas the hPSCs cultured on the optimal elastic substrates (25 kPa) maintained their pluripotency for over 20 passages under xeno-free conditions. These results indicate that cell culture matrices with optimal elasticity can maintain the pluripotency of hPSCs in culture.
  6. Sung TC, Li HF, Higuchi A, Ling QD, Yang JS, Tseng YC, et al.
    J Vis Exp, 2018 02 03.
    PMID: 29443075 DOI: 10.3791/57314
    The effect of physical cues, such as the stiffness of biomaterials on the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells, has been investigated by several researchers. However, most of these investigators have used polyacrylamide hydrogels for stem cell culture in their studies. Therefore, their results are controversial because those results might originate from the specific characteristics of the polyacrylamide and not from the physical cue (stiffness) of the biomaterials. Here, we describe a protocol for preparing hydrogels, which are not based on polyacrylamide, where various stem, cells including human embryonic stem (ES) cells and human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, can be cultured. Hydrogels with varying stiffness were prepared from bioinert polyvinyl alcohol-co-itaconic acid (P-IA), with stiffness controlled by crosslinking degree by changing crosslinking time. The P-IA hydrogels grafted with and without oligopeptides derived from extracellular matrix were investigated as a future platform for stem cell culture and differentiation. The culture and passage of amniotic fluid stem cells, adipose-derived stem cells, human ES cells, and human iPS cells is described in detail here. The oligopeptide P-IA hydrogels showed superior performances, which were induced by their stiffness properties. This protocol reports the synthesis of the biomaterial, their surface manipulation, along with controlling the stiffness properties and finally, their impact on stem cell fate using xeno-free culture conditions. Based on recent studies, such modified substrates can act as future platforms to support and direct the fate of various stem cells line to different linkages; and further, regenerate and restore the functions of the lost organ or tissue.
  7. Sung TC, Li HF, Higuchi A, Kumar SS, Ling QD, Wu YW, et al.
    Biomaterials, 2020 02;230:119638.
    PMID: 31810728 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2019.119638
    Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) were generated on several biomaterials from human amniotic fluid in completely xeno-free and feeder-free conditions via the transfection of pluripotent genes using a nonintegrating RNA Sendai virus vector. The effect of xeno-free culture medium on the efficiency of the establishment of human amniotic fluid stem cells from amniotic fluid was evaluated. Subsequently, the effect of cell culture biomaterials on the reprogramming efficiency was investigated during the reprogramming of human amniotic fluid stem cells into hiPSCs. Cells cultured in laminin-511, laminin-521, and Synthemax II-coated dishes and hydrogels having optimal elasticity that were engrafted with specific oligopeptides derived from vitronectin could be reprogrammed into hiPSCs with high efficiency. The reprogrammed cells expressed pluripotency proteins and had the capability to differentiate into cells derived from all three germ layers in vitro and in vivo. Human iPSCs could be generated successfully and at high efficiency (0.15-0.25%) in completely xeno-free conditions from the selection of optimal cell culture biomaterials.
  8. Lin HR, Heish CW, Liu CH, Muduli S, Li HF, Higuchi A, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2017 01 10;7:40069.
    PMID: 28071738 DOI: 10.1038/srep40069
    Human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs) are easily isolated from fat tissue without ethical concerns, but differ in purity, pluripotency, differentiation ability, and stem cell marker expression, depending on the isolation method. We isolated hADSCs from a primary fat tissue solution using: (1) conventional culture, (2) a membrane filtration method, (3) a membrane migration method where the primary cell solution was permeated through membranes, adhered hADSCs were cultured, and hADSCs migrated out from the membranes. Expression of mesenchymal stem cell markers and pluripotency genes, and osteogenic differentiation were compared for hADSCs isolated by different methods using nylon mesh filter membranes with pore sizes ranging from 11 to 80 μm. hADSCs isolated by the membrane migration method had the highest MSC surface marker expression and efficient differentiation into osteoblasts. Osteogenic differentiation ability of hADSCs and MSC surface marker expression were correlated, but osteogenic differentiation ability and pluripotent gene expression were not.
  9. Chen LH, Sung TC, Lee HH, Higuchi A, Su HC, Lin KJ, et al.
    Biomater Sci, 2019 Aug 14.
    PMID: 31411209 DOI: 10.1039/c9bm00418a
    Recombinant vitronectin-grafted hydrogels were developed by adjusting surface charge of the hydrogels with grafting of poly-l-lysine for optimal culture of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) under xeno- and feeder-free culture conditions, with elasticity regulated by crosslinking time (10-30 kPa), in contrast to conventional recombinant vitronectin coating dishes, which have a fixed stiff surface (3 GPa). hESCs proliferated on the hydrogels for over 10 passages and differentiated into the cells derived from three germ layers indicating the maintenance of pluripotency. hESCs on the hydrogels differentiated into cardiomyocytes under xeno-free culture conditions with much higher efficiency (80% of cTnT+ cells) than those on conventional recombinant vitronectin or Matrigel-coating dishes just only after 12 days of induction. It is important to have an optimal design of cell culture biomaterials where biological cues (recombinant vitronectin) and physical cues (optimal elasticity) are combined for high differentiation of hESCs into specific cell lineages, such as cardiomyocytes, under xeno-free and feeder-free culture conditions.
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