Culture media for therapeutic cell preparations-such as mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs)-usually comprise serum additives. Traditionally, fetal bovine serum is supplemented in basic research and in most clinical trials. Within the past years, many laboratories adapted their culture conditions to human platelet lysate (hPL), which further stimulates proliferation and expansion of MSCs. Particularly with regard to clinical application, human alternatives for fetal bovine serum are clearly to be preferred. hPL is generated from human platelet units by disruption of the platelet membrane, which is commonly performed by repeated freeze and thaw cycles. Such culture supplements are notoriously ill-defined, and many parameters contribute to batch-to-batch variation in hPL such as different amounts of plasma, a broad range of growth factors and donor-specific effects. The plasma components of hPL necessitate addition of anticoagulants such as heparins to prevent gelatinization of hPL medium, and their concentration must be standardized. Labels for description of hPL-such as "xenogen-free," "animal-free" and "serum free"-are not used consistently in the literature and may be misleading if not critically assessed. Further analysis of the precise composition of relevant growth factors, attachment factors, microRNAs and exosomes will pave the way for optimized and defined culture conditions. The use of hPL has several advantages and disadvantages: they must be taken into account because the choice of cell culture additive has major impact on cell preparations.
Keywords: fetal bovine serum; fetal calf serum; mesenchymal stromal cells; platelet lysate; platelet lysate gel; serum.
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