Engineered Microenvironment for Manufacturing Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells

Haishuang Lin, Xuefeng Qiu, Qian Du, Qiang Li, Ou Wang, Leonard Akert, Zhanqi Wang, Dirk Anderson, Kan Liu, Linxia Gu, Chi Zhang, Yuguo Lei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Human pluripotent stem cell-derived vascular smooth muscle cells (hPSC-VSMCs) are of great value for disease modeling, drug screening, cell therapies, and tissue engineering. However, producing a high quantity of hPSC-VSMCs with current cell culture technologies remains very challenging. Here, we report a scalable method for manufacturing hPSC-VSMCs in alginate hydrogel microtubes (i.e., AlgTubes), which protect cells from hydrodynamic stresses and limit cell mass to <400 μm to ensure efficient mass transport. The tubes provide cells a friendly microenvironment, leading to extremely high culture efficiency. We have shown that hPSC-VSMCs can be generated in 10 days with high viability, high purity, and high yield (∼5.0 × 10 8 cells/mL). Phenotype and gene expression showed that VSMCs made in AlgTubes and VSMCs made in 2D cultures were similar overall. However, AlgTube-VSMCs had higher expression of genes related to vasculature development and angiogenesis, and 2D-VSMCs had higher expression of genes related to cell death and biosynthetic processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-97
Number of pages14
JournalStem Cell Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 8 2019



  • 3D culture
  • alginate hydrogel tube
  • human pluripotent stem cells
  • vascular smooth muscle cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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