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.
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.
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.
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.
Commonly, stem cell culture is based on batch-type culture, which is laborious and expensive. We continuously cultured human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) on thermoresponsive dish surfaces, where hPSCs were partially detached on the same thermoresponsive dish by decreasing the temperature of the thermoresponsive dish to be below the lower critical solution temperature for only 30 min. Then, the remaining cells were continuously cultured in fresh culture medium, and the detached stem cells were harvested in the exchanged culture medium. hPSCs were continuously cultured for ten cycles on the thermoresponsive dish surface, which was prepared by coating the surface with poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-styrene) and oligovitronectin-grafted poly(acrylic acid-co-styrene) or recombinant vitronectin for hPSC binding sites to maintain hPSC pluripotency. After ten cycles of continuous culture on the thermoresponsive dish surface, the detached cells expressed pluripotency proteins and had the ability to differentiate into cells derived from the three germ layers in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, the detached cells differentiated into specific cell lineages, such as cardiomyocytes, with high efficiency.
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.