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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017, Article ID 6909163, 14 pages
Research Article

Effects of Macromolecular Crowding on Human Adipose Stem Cell Culture in Fetal Bovine Serum, Human Serum, and Defined Xeno-Free/Serum-Free Conditions

1Adult Stem Cell Group, BioMediTech, Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
2Science Center, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
3NUS Tissue Engineering Program, Life Sciences Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117510
4Department of Biomedical Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117575
5Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
6Department of Biochemistry, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117575
7Institute of Chemistry and Biology, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland

Correspondence should be addressed to Mimmi Patrikoski; if.atu.ffats@iksokirtap.immim

Received 26 August 2016; Revised 27 January 2017; Accepted 16 February 2017; Published 30 March 2017

Academic Editor: Peter J. Quesenberry

Copyright © 2017 Mimmi Patrikoski et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Microenvironment plays an important role for stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Macromolecular crowding (MMC) was recently shown to assist stem cells in forming their own matrix microenvironment in vitro. The ability of MMC to support adipose stem cell (ASC) proliferation, metabolism, and multilineage differentiation was studied under different conditions: fetal bovine serum- (FBS-) and human serum- (HS-) based media and xeno- and serum-free (XF/SF) media. Furthermore, the immunophenotype of ASCs under MMC was evaluated. The proliferative capacity of ASCs under MMC was attenuated in each condition. However, osteogenic differentiation was enhanced under MMC, shown by increased deposition of mineralized matrix in FBS and HS cultures. Likewise, significantly greater lipid droplet accumulation and increased collagen IV deposition indicated enhanced adipogenesis under MMC in FBS and HS cultures. In contrast, chondrogenic differentiation was attenuated in ASCs expanded under MMC. The ASC immunophenotype was maintained under MMC with significantly higher expression of CD54. However, MMC impaired metabolic activity and differentiation capacity of ASCs in XF/SF conditions. Both the supportive and inhibitory effects of MMC on ASC are culture condition dependent. In the presence of serum, MMC maintains ASC immunophenotype and enhances adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation at the cost of reduced proliferation.