Stem Cell Spheroids and Ex Vivo Niche Modeling: Rationalization and Scaling-Up

Isotta Chimenti, Diana Massai, Umberto Morbiducci, Antonio Paolo Beltrami, Maurizio Pesce, Elisa Messina

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Improved protocols/devices for in vitro culture of 3D cell spheroids may provide essential cues for proper growth and differentiation of stem/progenitor cells (S/PCs) in their niche, allowing preservation of specific features, such as multi-lineage potential and paracrine activity. Several platforms have been employed to replicate these conditions and to generate S/PC spheroids for therapeutic applications. However, they incompletely reproduce the niche environment, with partial loss of its highly regulated network, with additional hurdles in the field of cardiac biology, due to debated resident S/PCs therapeutic potential and clinical translation. In this contribution, the essential niche conditions (metabolic, geometric, mechanical) that allow S/PCs maintenance/commitment will be discussed. In particular, we will focus on both existing bioreactor-based platforms for the culture of S/PC as spheroids, and on possible criteria for the scaling-up of niche-like spheroids, which could be envisaged as promising tools for personalized cardiac regenerative medicine, as well as for high-throughput drug screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-166
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Translational Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Bioreactors
  • Cardiospheres
  • Cell spheroids
  • Scaling-up
  • Stem cell niche

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Genetics(clinical)


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