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Metabolic shift in density-dependent stem cell differentiation.

  • Author(s): Singh, Simar J
  • Turner, William
  • Glaser, Drew E
  • McCloskey, Kara E
  • Filipp, Fabian V
  • et al.

Vascular progenitor cells (VPCs) derived from embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are a valuable source for cell- and tissue-based therapeutic strategies. During the optimization of endothelial cell (EC) inductions from mouse ESCs using our staged and chemically-defined induction methods, we found that cell seeding density but not VEGF treatment between 10 ng/mL and 40 ng/mL was a significant variable directing ESCs into FLK1+ VPCs during stage 1 induction. Here, we examine potential contributions from cell-to-cell signaling or cellular metabolism in the production of VPCs from ESCs seeded at different cell densities.Using 1D 1H-NMR spectroscopy, transcriptomic arrays, and flow cytometry, we observed that the density-dependent differentiation of ESCs into FLK1+ VPCs positively correlated with a shift in metabolism and cellular growth.Specifically, cell differentiation correlated with an earlier plateauing of exhaustive glycolysis, decreased lactate production, lower metabolite consumption, decreased cellular proliferation and an increase in cell size. In contrast, cells seeded at a lower density of 1,000 cells/cm2 exhibited increased rates of glycolysis, lactate secretion, metabolite utilization, and proliferation over the same induction period. Gene expression analysis indicated that high cell seeding density correlated with up-regulation of several genes including cell adhesion molecules of the notch family (NOTCH1 and NOTCH4) and cadherin family (CDH5) related to vascular development.These results confirm that a distinct metabolic phenotype correlates with cell differentiation of VPCs.

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