Scientific publications

Online monitoring of hiPSC expansion and hepatic differentiation in 3D culture by dielectric spectroscopy.

Mar 13, 2021 | Magazine: Biotechnology and Bioengineering

Inês A Isidro, Pedro Vicente, Daniel A M Pais, Joana I Almeida, Mara Domingues, Bernardo Abecasis, Natalia Zapata-Linares, Juan R Rodriguez-Madoz, Felipe Prosper, Anders Aspegren, Paula M Alves, Margarida Serra


Hepatocyte-like cells derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC-HLC) are expected to have important applications in drug screening and regenerative medicine. However, hiPSC-HLC are difficult to produce on a large-scale to obtain relevant numbers for such applications. The aim of this study was to implement a novel integrated strategy for scalable production of hiPSC-HLC and demonstrate the applicability of dielectric spectroscopy to monitor hiPSC expansion/differentiation processes.

We cultured hiPSC as three-dimensional (3D) aggregates in stirred-tank bioreactors (STB) operated in perfusion with an in situ capacitance probe. Dissolved oxygen concentration and dilution rate were controlled along the process and after 5 days of cell expansion, the hepatic differentiation was integrated in sequential steps for 28 days. The hiPSC were able to grow as 3D aggregates and the expression of hepatic markers and albumin production after differentiation confirmed that hepatocyte differentiation improved when compared to 2D culture. These hiPSC-HLC exhibited functional characteristics of hepatocytes including glycogen storage and drug metabolization capacity.

Our results also show a good correlation between the cell permittivity measured online and the aggregate biovolume measured by standard offline methods, demonstrating for the first time the potential of dielectric spectroscopy to monitor hiPSC expansion and differentiation in STB.

CITATION  Biotechnol Bioeng. 2021 Sep;118(9):3610-3617.  doi: 10.1002/bit.27751.  Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Our authors

Dr. Juan Roberto Rodríguez Madoz