Microcarrier-Based Expansion of Adult Murine Side Population Stem Cells

Christina A. Pacak, Mau Thek Eddy, Lindsey Woodhull, Kai Roy Wang, Ivan Alpatov, Shelby Fullen, Rory P. Dowd, Yeong Hoon Choi, Douglas B. Cowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The lack of reliable methods to efficiently isolate and propagate stem cell populations is a significant obstacle to the advancement of cell-based therapies for human diseases. One isolation technique is based on efflux of the fluorophore Hoechst 33342. Using fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), a sub-population containing adult stem cells has been identified in a multitude of tissues in every mammalian species examined. These rare cells are referred to as the 'side population' or SP due to a distinctive FACS profile that results from weak staining by Hoechst dye. Although the SP contains multi-potent cells capable of differentiating toward hematopoietic and mesenchymal lineages; there is currently no method to efficiently expand them. Here, we describe a spinner-flask culture system containing C2C12 myoblasts attached to spherical microcarriers that act to support the growth of non-adherent, post-natal murine skeletal muscle and bone marrow SP cells. Using FACS and hemocytometry, we show expansion of unfractionated EGFP+ SP cells over 6 wks. A significant number of these cells retain characteristics of freshly-isolated, unfractionated SP cells with respect to protein expression and dye efflux capacity. Expansion of the SP will permit further study of these heterogeneous cells and determine their therapeutic potential for regenerative and reparative therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere55187
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 28 2013
Externally publishedYes

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