Metabolomics study of human embryonic stem cell culture media

Alfaro Alfonzo, Antonio Alejandro (2015) Metabolomics study of human embryonic stem cell culture media. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Self-renewal and pluripotency, the hallmarks of human embryonic stem cells (hESC), confer these cells with the capacity to expand indefinitely while maintaining the ability to differentiate into any cell type of the human body; thus, making hESC a valuable source of functional differentiated cells suitable for applications in regenerative medicine, drug discovery, biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals and developmental biology. However, the large-scale production of clinical-grade hESC, required for such applications, has been hampered by the current culture conditions in which hESC still depend on the use of mouse embryonic fibroblast-conditioned medium (MEF-CM) for their efficient growth. Therefore, investigation of the factors provided by MEFs is of the utmost importance to discover which components of MEF-CM allow the long-term expansion of undifferentiated hESC.

While considerable progress has been made on the identification of the protein components of MEF-CM, very little is known about the small molecules (metabolites) secreted by MEFs. In this context, an untargeted metabolomics method was developed for the investigation of potential bioactive metabolites present in MEF-CM implicated in the proliferation and/or maintenance of pluripotency of hESC in vitro.

A metabolomics method was applied and successfully identified a number of metabolites which were later confirmed in their identities with the use of authentic standards, to be further investigated for their effect on hESC culture. Interestingly, the addition of PGE2, 6-keto-PGF1α, 9, 12, 13-TriHOME, 7-Ketocholesterol and stearidonic acid (the metabolites found in MEF-CM) to the unconditioned medium (UM), a medium incapable of the maintenance of hESC, showed a delay in apoptosis when compared to the negative control UM; thus, suggesting that these metabolites could help with the proliferation of hESC.

Increasing evidence that hESC secrete factors into their microenvironment that can also help them to proliferate or to maintain an undifferentiated state prompted the application of the same metabolomics method to the analysis of hESC spent culture media. The results identified lysophospholipids (LPLs) as potential molecules mediating some biological activities; however, the precise role of these LPLs still remains to be determined.

Overall, the results of this thesis are expected to impact and add knowledge to the field of stem cell biology providing useful information for the creation and development of more efficient and defined culture conditions for the propagation of hESC with the appropriate quality to realise their widespread application in clinic and other research areas.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Barrett, D.A.
Alexander, M.
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history. Biology > QH573 Cytology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Pharmacy
Item ID: 28850
Depositing User: Alfaro Alfonzo, Antonio
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2015 09:59
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 22:08

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