The Niche

ISSCR posters: In vitro stem cell culture: are we doing enough to make the cells feel at home?

This account is by Julie Clark, a Field Application Scientist at Stemgent in San Diego. Some five dozen abstracts published for ISSCR this year included the word “oxygen”. Each highlighted the benefits of low oxygen (0.2-10% O2) for embryonic, hematopoietic, and mesenchymal stem cell culture. Indeed a steady stream of publications describes how hypoxia inducible factors and reactive oxygen species affect stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. This makes scientists wonder what might be missing in standard in vitro culture conditions. A discussion with Jit Hin Tan from MIT highlighted the need for continuous hypoxia: Oxygen diffuses from the media surface 

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