Testing of nine different xeno-free culture media for human embryonic stem cell cultures

Kristiina Rajala; Heidi Hakala; Sarita Panula; Suvi Aivio; Harri Pihlajamäki; Riitta Suuronen; Outi Hovatta; Heli Skottman
May 2007
Human Reproduction;May2007, Vol. 22 Issue 5, p1231
Academic Journal
: BACKGROUND Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) are excellent candidates for cell replacement therapies. However, currently used culture conditions contain animal-derived components that bear a risk of transmitting animal pathogens and incorporation of non-human immunogenic molecules to hESC. : METHODS Nine xeno-free culture media were compared with the conventional serum replacement (ko-SR) containing media in the culture of hESC on human feeder cells. Cultured hESC were characterized immunocytochemically and by fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis. The differentiation potential of hESC cultured with xeno-free media was determined with the RT–PCR analysis. : RESULTS The hESC cultured in xeno-free media differentiated or the proliferation decreased substantially. Under some test conditions, the morphology of the feeder cells was altered considerably. The hESC cultured with human serum underwent excessive differentiation in the beginning of culture, but a fraction of hESC was able to adapt to culture conditions containing 20% of human serum. : CONCLUSIONS None of the studied xeno-free media was able to maintain the undifferentiated growth of hESC. The medium containing 20% human serum was found to sustain undifferentiated hESC proliferation to some extent, yet was inferior to the conventional ko-SR-containing medium.


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