Scalable expansion of multipotent adult progenitor cells as three-dimensional cell aggregates

K. Subramanian, Y. Park, C. M. Verfaillie, W. S. Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Many applications of stem cell technologies require a large quantity of cells for which scalable processes of cell expansion and differentiation are essential. Multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs) are adult stem cells isolated from the bone marrow with extensive self-renewal and broad differentiation capabilities. MAPCs are typically cultured surface adherent (2D) and at low cell density, making the large surface required for cell expansion a hindrance for many applications. This study demonstrates that MAPCs can be cultivated as aggregates in an undifferentiated state for at least 16 days, as levels of a number of transcripts, including Oct4, remained similar, Oct4 protein was unchanged, and differentiation to neural progenitor, endothelial cell and hepatocyte like cells was retained. Cultivation of these aggregates in stirred bioreactor lead to a 70-fold expansion in 6 days with final cell densities of close to 106/mL. Importantly, the MAPC aggregates recovered from stirred bioreactors could be differentiated to hepatocyte-like cells that expressed albumin, alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT), and tyrosine amino transferase (TAT) transcripts and also secreted albumin and urea. This method of scalable expansion combined with differentiation of MAPCs can potentially be used for generating large numbers of MAPC and MAPC-derived differentiated cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-375
Number of pages12
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • 3D aggregates
  • Multipotent adult progenitor cells
  • Stirred suspension culture


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