A research study has developed a microfluidic cell culture device to achieve better efficiency in the differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) into hepatocytes.
With the rapid progress in stem cell technology, cell therapy offers a potential solution to the problem of donor organ shortage. In vitro differentiation of human MSCs into hepatocytes have been shown to rescue hepatic failure. However, conventional microfluidic cell culture devices have several limitations including restricted differentiation potential and low yield and quality of the differentiated cells. These limitations urge the need for development of novel microfluidic devices to achieve better efficiency in the differentiation of MSCs into hepatocytes.
In the present study published in Stem Cell Research and Therapy, Prof. Oscar Kuang-Sheng Lee and team at the National Yang-Ming University (China), developed a bio-microfluidic device system to enhance the hepatic differentiation capacity of MSCs. This device with an open-cover design and large culture chamber enabled homogeneous cell distribution, rapid development time, rapid operation time, and real-time observation under an optical microscope. MSCs used in the study were harvested from the bone marrow of 21 days old mice.
Results showed that the device exhibited a higher differentiation potential for MSCs as compared to conventional static culture methods. The resulting MSCs showed a higher level of hepatocyte marker gene expression under hepatic induction. Functional analysis of hepatic differentiation demonstrated significantly higher urea production in the microfluidic device after 21 days of hepatic differentiation.
Thus, the study demonstrates the potential of this microfluidic device in the generation of MSCs and efficient differentiation of MSCs into hepatocytes. The device could be adapted for the scale-up production of hepatic cells from MSCs for cellular therapy.
Source: Efficient generation of hepatic cells from mesenchymal stromal cells by an innovative bio-microfluidic cell culture device. Yen MH et al., Stem Cell Research and Therapy August 2016. DOI