A 3D sphere culture system containing functional polymers for large-scale human pluripotent stem cell production

Stem Cell Reports. 2014 Apr 24;2(5):734-45. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2014.03.012. eCollection 2014 May 6.


Utilizing human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) in cell-based therapy and drug discovery requires large-scale cell production. However, scaling up conventional adherent cultures presents challenges of maintaining a uniform high quality at low cost. In this regard, suspension cultures are a viable alternative, because they are scalable and do not require adhesion surfaces. 3D culture systems such as bioreactors can be exploited for large-scale production. However, the limitations of current suspension culture methods include spontaneous fusion between cell aggregates and suboptimal passaging methods by dissociation and reaggregation. 3D culture systems that dynamically stir carrier beads or cell aggregates should be refined to reduce shearing forces that damage hPSCs. Here, we report a simple 3D sphere culture system that incorporates mechanical passaging and functional polymers. This setup resolves major problems associated with suspension culture methods and dynamic stirring systems and may be optimal for applications involving large-scale hPSC production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Karyotyping
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Teratoma / pathology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Polymers
  • Transcription Factors