Analysis of Stem Cell Culture Performance in a Microcarrier Bioreactor System

K. Ponnuru, J. Wu, P. Ashok, E.S. Tzanakakis, E.P. Furlani
SUNY Buffalo, US

Keywords: human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), computational fluid dynamics, turbulent shear stress, cell damage, cell culture, kolmogorov length scale, pluripotency, stirred tank bioreactor

Summary:

Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) are capable of differentiating into all somatic cell types and hold great potential for future clinical applications. Recent studies on cell culture in stirred tank bioreactors indicate that mechanical forces resulting from the interaction of the cells with the turbulent eddies significantly affect the differentiation propensity of stem cells. The intensity of shear depends on the size of eddies that exist in the bioreactor relative to the microcarrier particles. It has been reported that cell damage can be avoided if the particle size is smaller than the size of the smallest eddy as characterized by the Kolmogorov length scale for turbulence. Thus, the Kolmogorov length scale is a key determinant of the differentiation outcome of cultured stem cells. This presentation will discuss the effects of the turbulent shear stress on the cell culture performance using a synergistic combination of computational fluid dynamic (CFD)-based simulations and experiments.