Biotechnology and bioengineering

Long-term three-dimensional perfusion culture of human adult bone marrow mononuclear cells in bioreactors.

PMID 25335987


The construction and long-term maintenance of three-dimensional in vitro bone marrow models is of great interest but still quite challenging. Here we describe the use of a multi-compartment hollow-fiber membrane based three-dimensional perfusion bioreactor for long-term culture of whole human bone marrow mononuclear cells. We also investigated bioreactors with incorporated open-porous foamed hydroxyapatite scaffolds, mimicking the in vivo bone matrix. Cells in bioreactors with and without scaffolds were cultured to 6 weeks and compared to Petri dish controls. Cells were analyzed for gene expression, surface markers by flow cytometry, metabolic activity, hematopoietic potential, viability, and attachment by immunocytochemistry. Cells in bioreactors were metabolic active during long-term culture. The percentages of hematopoietic stem cell and mature endothelial cell fractions were maintained in bioreactors. The expression of most of the analyzed genes stabilized and increased after long-term culture of 6 weeks. Compared to Petri dish culture controls, bioreactor perfusion culture improved in both the short and long-term, the colony formation unit capacity of hematopoietic progenitors. Cells attached to the ample surface area provided by hydroxyapatite scaffolds. The implementation of a hydroxyapatite scaffold did not influence colony formation capacity, percentages of cell type specific fractions, gene expression, cell viability or metabolic turnover when compared to control cells cultured in bioreactors without scaffolds. In conclusion, three-dimensional perfusion bioreactor culture enables long-term maintenance of primary human bone marrow cells, with hydroxyapatite scaffolds providing an in vivo-like scaffold for three-dimensional culture.