Systematic microcarrier screening and agitated culture conditions improves human mesenchymal stem cell yield in bioreactors


Production of human mesenchymal stem cells for allogeneic cell therapies requires scalable, cost-effective manufacturing processes. Microcarriers enable the culture of anchorage-dependent cells in stirred-tank bioreactors. However, no robust, transferable methodology for microcarrier selection exists, with studies providing little or no reason explaining why a microcarrier was employed. We systematically evaluated 13 microcarriers for human bone marrow-derived MSC (hBM-MSCs) expansion from three donors to establish a reproducible and transferable methodology for microcarrier selection. Monolayer studies demonstrated input cell line variability with respect to growth kinetics and metabolite flux. HBM-MSC1 underwent more cumulative population doublings over three passages in comparison to hBM-MSC2 and hBM-MSC3. In 100 mL spinner flasks, agitated conditions were significantly better than static conditions, irrespective of donor, and relative microcarrier performance was identical where the same microcarriers outperformed others with respect to growth kinetics and metabolite flux. Relative growth kinetics between donor cells on the microcarriers were the same as the monolayer study. Plastic microcarriers were selected as the optimal microcarrier for hBM-MSC expansion. HBM-MSCs were successfully harvested and characterised, demonstrating hBM-MSC immunophenotype and differentiation capacity. This approach provides a systematic method for microcarrier selection, and the findings identify potentially significant bioprocessing implications for microcarrier-based allogeneic cell therapy manufacture. Large-scale production of human bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (hBM-MSCs) requires expansion on microcarriers in agitated systems. This study demonstrates the importance of microcarrier selection and presents a systematic methodology for selection of an optimal microcarrier. The study also highlights the impact of an agitated culture environment in comparison to a static system, resulting in a significantly higher hBM-MSC yield under agitated conditions.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors. Biotechnology Journal published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Funding: EPSRC (EP/L015072/1) and Lonza GmbH (Cologne, DE)
Uncontrolled Keywords: bioreactor,cell therapy bioprocessing,human mesenchymal stem cell,microcarrier,regenerative medicine,Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology,Molecular Medicine
Publication ISSN: 1860-7314
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2024 07:12
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2016 10:30
Full Text Link: http://onlineli ... 400862/abstract
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2016-04
Published Online Date: 2016-02-29
Accepted Date: 2015-11-30
Submitted Date: 2014-12-31
Authors: Rafiq, Qasim A.
Coopman, Karen
Nienow, Alvin W.
Hewitt, Christopher J. (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-6988-6071)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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