Title: Design of polymeric microparticles functionalized with human extracellular matrix and nitric oxide donor for improved 3D stem cell culture

Marianne Parent

Universite de Lorraine, France


Marianne PARENT is Associate Professor in the pharmaceutical technology department of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Nancy (Université de Lorraine). She was graduated as pharmacist from the Université de Lorraine in 2012 with summa cum laude. She obtained her PhD in “Life and Health Science” in 2013 from the same University. She was recruited in 2016 as assistant professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Nancy and simultaneously joined the EA 3452 CITHEFOR for her research in formulation. Her main research is focused on optimization of encapsulation and release of nitric oxide donors.


Therapeutic use of stem cells is a booming field of science since the first clinical trials in humans in the 60’s. Cells can be administered directly or after seeding on a scaffold, which will be then implanted in the patient. For both applications, the prerequisite is to obtain a sufficient amount of cells (106 to 1015 cells, depending of the therapeutic aim), with a perfectly controlled phenotype.
      Three-dimensional (3D) culture of cells onto polymeric microspheres is a robust, automatable and scalable process to produce high quantities of cells, in accordance with good manufacturing practices. However, the commercialized spheres for 3D cell culture are generally made of hydrophobic polymers, which is unfavorable for cell seeding. As a result, they are coated with one constituent of the extracellular matrix (generally collagen), to get closer to the natural environment of the cells.
      The aim of this work is to develop a polymeric microsphere suitable for 3D cell culture. The particle is coated with a complete human extracellular matrix (ECM) extracted from the Wharton’s jelly of the umbilical cord, to improve cell adhesion and to modulate the differentiation of perinatal human mesenchymal stem cells. The ECM-coated microspheres are also converted into drug delivery systems by incorporation of a nitric oxide donor, as nitric oxide is a key signaling factor for cell viability, migration, proliferation and differentiation.
The “Producell” project was granted by the scientific center “Biology, Medicine and Health” of the “Université de Lorraine” in the “Projets incitatifs 2018-Crédits CS UL” call.
The PhD thesis of Mr Yi ZHOU is financially supported by the Chinese Scolarship Council.
The CITHEFOR EA3452 lab is supported by the “Impact Biomolecules” project of the “Lorraine Université d'Excellence” (Investissements d’avenir – ANR).
Audience take away:
• This is the first description of a microparticle coated with a complete human extracellular matrix
• Design, development and characterization of a new object, both scaffold for cell culture and drug delivery system