Probing the effects of matrix-derived microcarrier composition on human adipose-derived stromal cells cultured dynamically within spinner flask bioreactors

J Biomed Mater Res A. 2023 Mar;111(3):415-434. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.37459. Epub 2022 Oct 10.


Recognizing the cell-instructive capacity of the extracellular matrix (ECM), this study investigated the effects of expanding human adipose-derived stromal cells (hASCs) on ECM-derived microcarriers fabricated from decellularized adipose tissue (DAT) or decellularized cartilage tissue (DCT) within spinner flask bioreactors. Protocols were established for decellularizing porcine auricular cartilage and electrospraying methods were used to generate microcarriers comprised exclusively of DAT or DCT, which were compositionally distinct, but had matching Young's moduli. Both microcarrier types supported hASC attachment and growth over 14 days within a low-shear spinner culture system, with a significantly higher cell density observed on the DCT microcarriers at 7 and 14 days. Irrespective of the ECM source, dynamic culture on the microcarriers altered the expression of genes and proteins associated with cell adhesion and ECM remodeling. Label-free mass spectrometry analysis showed upregulation of proteins associated with cartilage development and ECM in the hASCs expanded on the DCT microcarriers. Based on Luminex analysis, the hASCs expanded on the DCT microcarriers secreted significantly higher levels of IL-8 and PDGFAA, supporting that the ECM source can modulate hASC paracrine factor secretion. Finally, the hASCs expanded on the microcarriers were extracted for analysis of adipogenic and chondrogenic differentiation relative to baseline controls. The microcarrier-cultured hASCs showed enhanced intracellular lipid accumulation at 7 days post-induction of adipogenic differentiation. In the chondrogenic studies, a low level of differentiation was observed in all groups. Future studies are warranted using alternative cell sources with greater chondrogenic potential to further assess the chondro-inductive properties of the DCT microcarriers.

Keywords: adipogenesis; adipose-derived stromal cells; chondrogenesis; dynamic culture; extracellular matrix; microcarriers; microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes*
  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Animals
  • Bioreactors
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Stromal Cells
  • Swine