Biological Systems Engineering


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Human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived endothelial cells (ECs) are promising cell sources for drug discovery, tissue engineering, and studying or treating vascular diseases. However, hPSC-ECs derived from different culture methods display different phenotypes. Herein, we made a detailed comparative study of hPSC-ECs from three different culture systems (e.g., 2D, 3D PNIPAAm-PEG hydrogel, and 3D alginate hydrogel cultures) based on our previous reports. We expanded hPSCs and differentiated them into ECs in three culture systems. Both 3D hydrogel systems could mimic an in vivo physiologically relevant microenvironment to protect cells from shear force and prevent cell agglomeration, leading to a high culture efficiency and a high volumetric yield. We demonstrated that hPSC-ECs produced from both hydrogel systems had similar results as 2D-ECs. The transcriptome analysis showed that PEG-ECs and alginate-ECs displayed a functional phenotype due to their higher gene expressions in vasculature development, extracellular matrix, angiogenesis, and glycolysis, while 2D-ECs showed a proliferative phenotype due to their higher gene expressions in cell proliferation. Taken together, both PEG- and alginate-hydrogel systems will significantly advance the applications of hPSC-ECs in various biomedical fields.