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Title: Substrate topographies modulate the secretory activity of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells
Abstract Background

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) secrete a diversity of factors with broad therapeutic potential, yet current culture methods limit potency outcomes. In this study, we used topographical cues on polystyrene films to investigate their impact on the secretory profile and potency of bone marrow-derived MSCs (hBM-MSCs). hBM-MSCs from four donors were cultured on topographic substrates depicting defined roughness, curvature, grooves and various levels of wettability.


The topographical PS-based array was developed using razor printing, polishing and plasma treatment methods. hBM-MSCs from four donors were purchased from RoosterBio and used in co-culture with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from Cell Applications Inc. in an immunopotency assay to measure immunosuppressive capacity. Cells were cultured on low serum (2%) for 24–48 h prior to analysis. Image-based analysis was used for cell quantification and morphology assessment. Metabolic activity of BM-hMSCs was measured as the mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate using an extracellular flux analyzer. Conditioned media samples of BM-hMSCs were used to quantify secreted factors, and the data were analyzed using R statistics. Enriched bioprocesses were identify using the Gene Ontology toolenrichGOfrom theclusterprofiler.One-way and two-way ANOVAs were carried out to identify significant changes between the conditions. Results were deemed statistically significant for combinedP < 0.05 for at least three independent experiments.


Cell viability was not significantly affected in the topographical substrates, and cell elongation was enhanced at least twofold in microgrooves and surfaces with a low contact angle. Increased cell elongation correlated with a metabolic shift from oxidative phosphorylation to a glycolytic state which is indicative of a high-energy state. Differential protein expression and gene ontology analyses identified bioprocesses enriched across donors associated with immune modulation and tissue regeneration. The growth of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was suppressed in hBM-MSCs co-cultures, confirming enhanced immunosuppressive potency. YAP/TAZ levels were found to be reduced on these topographies confirming a mechanosensing effect on cells and suggesting a potential role in the immunomodulatory function of hMSCs.


This work demonstrates the potential of topographical cues as a culture strategy to improve the secretory capacity and enrich for an immunomodulatory phenotype in hBM-MSCs.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
Publisher / Repository:
Springer Science + Business Media
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Stem Cell Research & Therapy
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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