Gingival Fibroblasts as Autologous Feeders for Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

G. Yu, H. Okawa, K. Okita, Yuya Kamano, F. Wang, M. Saeki, H. Yatani, H. Egusa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Human gingival fibroblasts (hGFs) present an attractive source of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are expected to be a powerful tool for regenerative dentistry. However, problems to be addressed prior to clinical application include the use of animal-derived feeder cells for cultures. The aim of this study was to establish an autologous hGF-derived iPSC (hGF-iPSC) culture system by evaluating the feeder ability of hGFs. In both serum-containing and serum-free media, hGFs showed higher proliferation than human dermal fibroblasts (hDFs). Three hGF strains were isolated under serum-free conditions, although 2 showed impaired proliferation. When hGF-iPSCs were transferred onto mitomycin C-inactivated hGFs, hDFs, or mouse-derived SNL feeders, hGF and SNL feeders were clearly hGF-iPSC supportive for more than 50 passages, whereas hDF feeders were only able to maintain undifferentiated hGF-iPSC growth for a few passages. After 20 passages on hGF feeders, embryonic stem cell marker expression and CpG methylation at the NANOG and OCT3/4 promoters were similar for hGF-iPSCs cultured on hGF and SNL feeder cells. Long-term cultures of hGF-iPSCs on hGF feeders sustained their normal karyotype and pluripotency. On hGF feeders, hGF-iPSC colonies were surrounded by many colony-derived fibroblast-like cells, and the size of intact colonies at 7 d after passage was significantly larger than that on SNL feeders. Allogeneic hGF strains also maintained hGF-iPSCs for 10 passages. Compared with hDFs, hGFs showed a higher production of laminin-332, laminin α5 chain, and insulin-like growth factor-II, which have been reported to sustain the long-term self-renewal of pluripotent stem cells. These results suggest that hGFs possess an excellent feeder capability and thus can be used as alternatives to conventional mouse-derived SNL and hDF feeders. In addition, our findings suggest that hGF feeders are promising candidates for animal component-free ex vivo expansion of autologous hGF-iPSCs, thus providing an important step toward the future therapeutic application of hGF-iPSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-118
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1


  • culture media
  • feeder cells
  • gingiva
  • insulin-like growth factor II
  • regenerative medicine
  • serum-free

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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