Long-Term Stability and Differentiation Potential of Cryopreserved cGMP-Compliant Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Dec 23;21(1):108. doi: 10.3390/ijms21010108.


The clinical effectiveness of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is highly dependent on a few key quality characteristics including the generation of high quality cell bank, long-term genomic stability, post-thaw viability, plating efficiency, retention of pluripotency, directed differentiation, purity, potency, and sterility. We have already reported the establishment of iPSC master cell banks (MCBs) and working cell banks (WCBs) under current good manufacturing procedure (cGMP)-compliant conditions. In this study, we assessed the cellular and genomic stability of the iPSC lines generated and cryopreserved five years ago under cGMP-compliant conditions. iPSC lines were thawed, characterized, and directly differentiated into cells from three germ layers including cardiomyocytes (CMs), neural stem cells (NSCs), and definitive endoderm (DE). The cells were also expanded in 2D and 3D spinner flasks to evaluate their long-term expansion potential in matrix-dependent and feeder-free culture environment. All three lines successfully thawed and attached to the L7TM matrix, and formed typical iPSC colonies that expressed pluripotency markers over 15 passages. iPSCs maintained their differentiation potential as demonstrated with spontaneous and directed differentiation to the three germ layers and corresponding expression of specific markers, respectfully. Furthermore, post-thaw cells showed normal karyotype, negative mycoplasma, and sterility testing. These cells maintained both their 2D and 3D proliferation potential after five years of cryopreservation without acquiring karyotype abnormality, loss of pluripotency, and telomerase activity. These results illustrate the long-term stability of cGMP iPSC lines, which is an important step in establishing a reliable, long-term source of starting materials for clinical and commercial manufacturing of iPSC-derived cell therapy products.

Keywords: Telomere; cGMP; cryopreservation; differentiation; induced pluripotent stem cells; stability.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line
  • Cryopreservation*
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Time Factors