Expansion of human mesenchymal stem cells on microcarriers

The effects on human mesenchymal stem cell growth of choosing either of two spinner flask impeller geometries, two microcarrier concentrations and two cell concentrations (seeding densities) were investigated. Cytodex 3 microcarriers were not damaged when held at the minimum speed, NJS, for their suspension, using either impeller, nor was there any observable damage to the cells. The maximum cell density was achieved after 8–10 days of culture with up to a 20-fold expansion in terms of cells per microcarrier. An increase in microcarrier concentration or seeding density generally had a deleterious or neutral effect, as previously observed for human fibroblast cultures. The choice of impeller was significant, as was incorporation of a 1 day delay before agitation to allow initial attachment of cells. The best conditions for cell expansion on the microcarriers in the flasks were 3,000 microcarriers ml−1 (ca. 1 g dry weight l−1), a seeding density of 5 cells per microcarrier with a 1 day delay before agitation began at NJS (30 rpm), using a horizontally suspended flea impeller with an added vertical paddle. These findings were interpreted using Kolmogorov’s theory of isotropic turbulence.