Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) hold great promise for future applications in drug discovery and cell therapies. hPSC culture protocols require specific substrates and medium supplements to support cell expansion and lineage specific differentiation. The animal origin of these substrates is a severe limitation when considering the translation of hPSC derivatives to the clinic and in vitro disease modeling. The present study evaluates the use of a human placenta-derived extracellular matrix (ECM) hydrogel, HuGentraⓇ, to support tri-lineage differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). Lineage-specific embryoid bodies (EBs) were plated onto three separate matrices, and differentiation efficiency was evaluated based on morphology, protein, and gene expression. HuGentra was found to support the differentiation of hiPSCs to all three germ layers: ectodermal, mesodermal, and endodermal lineages. hiPSCs differentiated into neurons, cardiomyocytes, and hepatocytes on HuGentra had similar morphology, protein, and gene expression compared to differentiation on Matrigel or other cell preferred matrices. HuGentra can be considered as a suitable human substrate for hiPSC differentiation.
Keywords: Differentiation; Human ECM; Tri-lineage; hiPSC.