Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) that include human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have gained enormous interest as potential sources for regenerative biomedical therapies and model systems for studying early development. Traditionally, mouse embryonic fibroblasts have been used as a supportive feeder layer for the sustained propagation of hPSCs. However, the use of nonhuman-derived feeders presents concerns about the possibility of xenogenic contamination, labor intensiveness, and variability in experimental results in hPSC cultures. Toward addressing some of these concerns, we report the propagation of three different hPSCs on feeder-free extracellular matrix (ECM)-based substrates derived from human fibroblasts. hPSCs propagated in this setting were indistinguishable by multiple criteria, including colony morphology, expression of pluripotency protein markers, trilineage in vitro differentiation, and gene expression patterns, from hPSCs cultured directly on a fibroblast feeder layer. Further, hPSCs maintained a normal karyotype when analyzed after 15 passages in this setting. Development of this ECM-based culture system is a significant advance in hPSC propagation methods as it could serve as a critical component in the development of humanized propagation systems for the production of stable hPSCs and its derivatives for research and therapeutic applications.
(c) 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers