A defined xeno-free system for patient-specific iPSC derivation and differentiation is required for translation to clinical applications. However, standard somatic cell reprogramming protocols rely on using MEFs and xenogeneic medium, imposing a significant obstacle to clinical translation. Here, we describe a well-defined culture system based on xeno-free media and LN521 substrate which supported i) efficient reprogramming of normal or diseased skin fibroblasts from human of different ages into hiPSCs with a 15-30 fold increase in efficiency over conventional viral vector-based method; ii) long-term self-renewal of hiPSCs; and iii) direct hiPSC lineage-specific differentiation. Using an excisable polycistronic vector and optimized culture conditions, we achieved up to 0.15%-0.3% reprogramming efficiencies. Subsequently, transgene-free hiPSCs were obtained by Cre-mediated excision of the reprogramming factors. The derived iPSCs maintained long-term self-renewal, normal karyotype and pluripotency, as demonstrated by the expression of stem cell markers and ability to form derivatives of three germ layers both in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, we demonstrated that Parkinson's patient transgene-free iPSCs derived using the same system could be directed towards differentiation into dopaminergic neurons under xeno-free culture conditions. Our approach provides a safe and robust platform for the generation of patient-specific iPSCs and derivatives for clinical and translational applications.
Keywords: Direct differentiation; Expansion; Laminin 521; Reprogramming; Xeno-free culture; iPSC.
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