Defining a threshold surface density of vitronectin for the stable expansion of human embryonic stem cells

Lynn Y.W. Yap, Jian Li, In Yee Phang, Lay Ting Ong, Jo'An Zhu En Ow, James C.H. Goh, Victor Nurcombe, Jonathan Hobley, Andre B.H. Choo, Steve K.W. Oh, Simon M. Cool, William R. Birch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Current methodology for pluripotent human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) expansion relies on murine sarcoma basement membrane substrates (Matrigel™), which precludes the use of these cells in regenerative medicine. To realize the clinical efficacy of hESCs and their derivatives, expansion of these cells in a defined system that is free of animal components is required. This study reports the successful propagation of hESCs (HES-3 and H1) for >20 passages on tissue culture-treated polystyrene plates, coated from 5μg/mL of human plasma-purified vitronectin (VN) solution. Cells maintain expression of pluripotent markers Tra1-60 and OCT-4 and are karyotypically normal after 20 passages of continuous culture. In vitro and in vivo differentiation of hESC by embryoid body formation and teratoma yielded cells from the ecto-, endo-, and mesoderm lineages. VN immobilized on tissue culture polystyrene was characterized using a combination of X-ray photoemission spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, and quantification of the VN surface density with a Bradford protein assay. Ponceau S staining was used to measure VN adsorption and desorption kinetics. Tuning the VN surface density, via the concentration of depositing solution, revealed a threshold surface density of 250ng/cm2, which is required for hESCs attachment, proliferation, and differentiation. Cell attachment and proliferation assays on VN surface densities above this threshold show the substrate properties to be equally viable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-207
Number of pages15
JournalTissue Engineering - Part C: Methods
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Feb 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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