Human mesenchymal stem cells (HMSCs) possess three properties of great interest for the development of celltherapies and tissue engineering: multilineage differentiation, immunomodulation, and production of trophic factors. Efficient ex vivo expansion of hMSCs is a challenging requirement for large scale production of clinical grade cells. Low-cost, robust, scalable culture methods using chemically defined materials need to be developed to address this need. This study describes the use of a xeno-free synthetic peptide acrylate surface, the Corning® Synthemax® Surface, for culture of hMSCs in serum-free, defined medium. Cell performance on the Corning Synthemax Surface was compared to cells cultured on biological extracellular matrix (ECM) coatings in xeno-free defined medium and in traditional conditions on tissue culture treated (TCT) plastic in fetal bovine serum (FBS) supplemented medium. Our results show successful maintenance of hMSCs on Corning Synthemax Surface for eight passages, with cell expansion rate comparable to cells cultured on ECM and significantly higher than for cells in TCT/FBS condition. Importantly, on the Corning Synthemax Surface, cells maintained elongated, spindle-like morphology, typical hMSC marker profile and in vitro multilineage differentiation potential. We believe the Corning Synthemax Surface, in combination with defined media, provides a complete synthetic, xeno-free, cell culture system for scalable production of hMSCs.
This article is published online in PLoS One and is free to access.