Patterns of amino acid metabolism by proliferating human mesenchymal stem cells

G.A. Higuera, D. Schop, T.W. Spitters, R. Dijkhuizen, M. Bracke, J.D. Bruijn, D.E. Martens, M. Karperien, A.J.B. van Boxtel, C.A. van Blitterswijk

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32 Citations (Scopus)


The nutritional requirements of stem cells have not been determined; in particular, the amino acid metabolism of stem cells is largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the amino acid metabolism of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), with focus on two questions: Which amino acids are consumed and/or secreted by hMSCs and at what rates? To answer these questions, hMSCs were cultured on tissue culture plastic and in a bioreactor, and their amino acid profile was analyzed. The results showed that the kinetics of hMSCs growth and amino acid metabolism were significantly higher for hMSCs in tissue culture plastic than in the bioreactor. Despite differences in culture conditions, 8 essential and 6 nonessential amino acids were consumed by hMSCs in both tissue culture plastic and bioreactor cultures. Glutamine was the most consumed amino acid with significantly higher rates than for any other amino acid. The metabolism of nonessential amino acids by hMSCs deviated significantly from that of other cell lines. The secretion of alanine, glycine, glutamate, and ornithine by hMSCs showed that there is a strong overflow metabolism that can be due to the high concentrations of amino acids provided in the medium. In addition, the data showed that there is a metabolic pattern for proliferating hMSCs, which can contribute to the design of medium without animal serum for stem cells. Further, this study shows how to implement amino acid rates and metabolic principles in three-dimensional stem cell biology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-664
JournalTissue Engineering. Part A
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • marrow stromal cells
  • bone-marrow
  • in-vitro
  • antibody-production
  • cultivation system
  • mammalian cells
  • expansion
  • growth
  • culture
  • glutamine


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