Size-controlled human adipose-derived stem cell spheroids hybridized with single-segmented nanofibers and their effect on viability and stem cell differentiation

Jinkyu Lee, Sangmin Lee, Sung Min Kim, Heungsoo Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Fabrication of three-dimensional stem cell spheroids have been studied to improve stem cell function, but the hypoxic core and limited penetration of nutrients and signaling cues to the interior of the spheroid were challenges. The incorporation of polymers such as silica and gelatin in spheroids resulted in relatively relaxed assembly of composite spheroids, and enhancing transport of nutrient and biological gas. However, because of the low surface area between cells and since the polymers were heterogeneously distributed throughout the spheroid, these polymers cannot increase the cell to extracellular matrix interactions needed to support differentiation. Methods: We developed the stem cell spheroids that incorporate poly(ι-lactic acid) single-segmented fibers synthesized by electrospinning and physical and chemical fragmentation. The proper mixing ratio was 2000 cells/μg fibers (average length of the fibers was 50 μm - 100 μm). The SFs were coated with polydopamine to increase cell binding affinity and to synthesize various-sized spheroids. The function of spheroids was investigated by in vitro analysis depending on their sizes. For statistical analysis, Graphpad Prism 5 software (San Diego, CA, USA) was used to perform one-way analysis of variance ANOVA with Tukey’s honest significant difference test and a Student’s t-test (for two variables) (P < 0.05). Results: Spheroids of different sizes were created by modulating the amount of cells and fibers (0.063 mm2–0.322 mm2). The fibers in the spheroid were homogenously distributed and increased cell viability, while cell-only spheroids showed a loss of DNA contents, internal degradation, and many apoptotic signals. Furthermore, we investigated stemness and various functions of various-sized fiber-incorporated spheroids. In conclusion, the spheroid with the largest size showed the greatest release of angiogenic factors (released VEGF: 0.111 ± 0.004 pg/ng DNA), while the smallest size showed greater effects of osteogenic differentiation (mineralized calcium: 18.099 ± 0.271 ng/ng DNA). Conclusion: The spheroids incorporating polydopamine coated single-segmented fibers showed enhanced viability regardless of sizes and increased their functionality by regulating the size of spheroids which may be used for various tissue reconstruction and therapeutic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalBiomaterials Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021 Dec


  • Angiogenic factor
  • Differentiation
  • Single segmented fibers
  • Spheroid
  • Stem cell


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