Scalable manufacture of therapeutic mesenchymal stromal cell products on customizable microcarriers in vertical wheel bioreactors that improve direct visualization, product harvest, and cost. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND AIMS: Human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) and their secreted products show great promise for treatment of musculoskeletal injury and inflammatory or immune diseases. However, the path to clinical utilization is hampered by donor-tissue variation and the inability to manufacture clinically relevant yields of cells or their products in a cost-effective manner. Previously we described a method to produce chemically and mechanically customizable gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) microcarriers for culture of hMSCs. Herein, we demonstrate scalable GelMA microcarrier-mediated expansion of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived hMSCs (ihMSCs) in 500 mL and 3L vertical wheel bioreactors, offering several advantages over conventional microcarrier and monolayer-based expansion strategies. METHODS: Human mesenchymal stromal cells derived from induced pluripotent cells were cultured on custom-made spherical gelatin methacryloyl microcarriers in single-use vertical wheel bioreactors (PBS Biotech). Cell-laden microcarriers were visualized using confocal microscopy and elastic light scattering methodologies. Cells were assayed for viability and differentiation potential in vitro by standard methods. Osteogenic cell matrix derived from cells was tested in vitro for osteogenic healing using a rodent calvarial defect assay. Immune modulation was assayed with an in vivo peritonitis model using Zymozan A. RESULTS: The optical properties of GelMA microcarriers permit noninvasive visualization of cells with elastic light scattering modalities, and harvest of product is streamlined by microcarrier digestion. At volumes above 500 mL, the process is significantly more cost-effective than monolayer culture. Osteogenic cell matrix derived from ihMSCs expanded on GelMA microcarriers exhibited enhanced in vivo bone regenerative capacity when compared to bone morphogenic protein 2, and the ihMSCs exhibited superior immunosuppressive properties in vivo when compared to monolayer-generated ihMSCs. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that the cell expansion strategy described here represents a superior approach for efficient generation, monitoring and harvest of therapeutic MSCs and their products.

published proceedings

  • Cytotherapy

author list (cited authors)

  • Haskell, A., White, B. P., Rogers, R. E., Goebel, E., Lopez, M. G., Syvyk, A. E., ... Gregory, C. A.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • February 2024