Scaling up the ex vivo expansion of human circulating CD34+progenitor cells with upregulation of angiogenic and anti-inflammatory potential

Márcia F. Mata, João Pedro Lopes, Masakazu Ishikawa, Mohamad A. Alaiti, Joaquim M.S. Cabral, Cláudia L. da Silva, Marco A. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background aims: The therapeutic application of CD34+ circulating progenitor cells (which includes endothelial progenitor cells) has been hampered by the quantity and quality of isolated circulating CD34+ cells from the patient's peripheral blood. Our group had previously established a suspension culture system for human CD34+ cells, with increased quantity and quality (QQ) of the angiogenic cell product. We successfully scaled up the expansion process with the use of culture bags because there is the need to move toward a dynamic and fully controlled bioreactor system to meet Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards and attain clinically meaningful cell doses in a time- and cost-effective way. Methods: CD34+ cells isolated from mobilized peripheral blood of healthy donors were expanded ex vivo for 7 days in QQ medium (serum-free) in cell culture bags (30 mL) and pre- and post-expansion cells were characterized by means of flow cytometry and quantitative polymerase chain reaction; angiogenic potential was assessed by use of the in vitro tube formation assay. Results: Our data show effective expansion of the cultured population (7-fold) while maintaining the stem/progenitor content and increasing the endothelial population. Moreover, post-expanded cells showed higher tube formation capacity compared with pre-expanded cells. In addition, an upregulation of the anti-inflammatory gene expression and a downregulation of pro-inflammatory genes were observed, which suggests that the increase in angiogenic potential is not paired with an increase in the inflammatory profile. Conclusions: The QQ expansion method was successfully scaled up to cell culture bags and was able to meet GMP standards, with a higher in vitro angiogenic profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1777-1784
Number of pages8
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiogenesis
  • CD34 progenitor cells
  • Ex vivo expansion
  • Good manufacturing practice
  • Scale-up
  • Serum-free

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Transplantation


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