In regenerative medicine, high therapeutic promises have been based on the possibility of stimulating ex vivo and in vitro expansion of stem cells and their differentiation into functional progeny that could regenerate injured tissues/organs in humans. Alterations in cell properties may occur during in vitro manipulation due to biochemical or biophysical changes from in vivo physiological conditions to in vitro one. Without proper culture systems and protocols, stem cells cannot grow normally outside the body and will gradually lose their multipotency or pluripotency and can undergo early senescence. In this context, lipid metabolism is pivotal in stem cell physiology and it plays a central role in stem cell maintenance and differentiation. However, the full understanding of stem cell lipid metabolism is still far away, but once achieved it could bring great advances in their handling and use.
Mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) are cells with multi-lineage differentiation and immunomodulatory capacity. These characteristics of MSCs, especially their ability to inhibit the proliferation of antigen-specific memory T cells have made them excellent candidates for various cell-based therapies. In order to successfully apply these cells for therapeutic applications, substantial in vitro expansion is required. In the following months we will publish some great results on how the membrane fatty acid composition of MSCs is modified by the in vitro culturing process, and how it is possible to recreate a more physiological membrane fatty acid content by the development of tailored lipid supplements.
Another nice paper on the same argument was just published by Tigistu-Sahle and co-workers. The authors emphasized the importance of choosing appropriate lipid supplements for human Bone-Marrow MSCs and other therapeutic cells cultured and expanded in vitro.
It is now established that membrane lipidomics plays a fundamental role in cell physiology of stem cells and of MSCs in particular, although much still remains to be discovered. In order to achieve an intensive use of these cells in cell therapy and regenerative medicine applications, it is necessary to make in vitro cultivation processes more efficient for them to be more suitable for their large-scale industrial use. It is in this context that membrane lipidomics and related tailored membrane lipid supplements can bring important advantages in the improvement of both in vitro amplification processes and the outcome of administering the same to patients, through an improvement in the quality of the cell and a realignment to in vivo conditions that enable the expression of the cells full potential.
Happy Culturing for the New Year!!!