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The Microfluidic Environment Reveals a Hidden Role of Self-Organizing Extracellular Matrix in Hepatic Commitment and Organoid Formation of hiPSCs.

Cell reports (2020-12-03)
Federica Michielin, Giovanni G Giobbe, Camilla Luni, Qianjiang Hu, Ida Maroni, Michael R Orford, Anna Manfredi, Lucio Di Filippo, Anna L David, Davide Cacchiarelli, Paolo De Coppi, Simon Eaton, Nicola Elvassore
ABSTRACT

The specification of the hepatic identity during human liver development is strictly controlled by extrinsic signals, yet it is still not clear how cells respond to these exogenous signals by activating secretory cascades, which are extremely relevant, especially in 3D self-organizing systems. Here, we investigate how the proteins secreted by human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) in response to developmental exogenous signals affect the progression from endoderm to the hepatic lineage, including their competence to generate nascent hepatic organoids. By using microfluidic confined environment and stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture-coupled mass spectrometry (SILAC-MS) quantitative proteomic analysis, we find high abundancy of extracellular matrix (ECM)-associated proteins. Hepatic progenitor cells either derived in microfluidics or exposed to exogenous ECM stimuli show a significantly higher potential of forming hepatic organoids that can be rapidly expanded for several passages and further differentiated into functional hepatocytes. These results prove an additional control over the efficiency of hepatic organoid formation and differentiation for downstream applications.

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