In pluripotent stem cell differentiation, embryoid bodies (EBs) provide a three-dimensional [3D] multicellular precursor in lineage specification. The internal structure of EBs is not well characterized yet is predicted to be an important parameter to differentiation. Here, we use custom SU-8 molds to generate transparent lithography-templated arrays of polydimethylsiloxane (LTA-PDMS) for high throughput analysis of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) EB formation and internal architecture. EBs formed in 200 and 500 μm diameter microarray wells by use of single cells, 2D clusters, or 3D early aggregates were compared. We observe that 200 μm EBs are monocystic versus 500 μm multicystic EBs that contain macro, meso and microsized cysts. In adherent differentiation of 500 μm EBs, the multicystic character impairs the 3D to 2D transition creating non-uniform monolayers. Our findings reveal that EB core structure has a size-dependent character that influences its architecture and cell population uniformity during early differentiation.
Keywords: bioengineering; high-throughput screening; self-organization; templates; three-dimensional.
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