Hypothermic Stem Cell Storage Using a Polypeptide Thermogel

Zhengyu Piao, Jin Kyung Park, So Jung Park, Byeongmoon Jeong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We report a polypeptide-based thermogel as a new tool for hypothermic storage of stem cells at ambient temperature (25 °C). Stem cells were suspended in the sol state (10 °C) of an aqueous poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(L-alanine) (PEG-PA) solution (4.0 wt %) in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), which turned into a stem cell-incorporated gel by a heat-induced sol-to-gel transition. The cell harvesting procedure from the thermogels was simply performed through a gel-to-sol transition by diluting and cooling the system. More than 99% of stem cells died in PBS and Pluronic F127 thermogel (control thermogel) when the cells were stored at 25 °C for 7 days. The cell recovery rate from the PEG-PA thermogel (64%) was significantly greater than that from the commercially available HypoThermosol FRS preservation solution (HTS) (26%). Additionally, the surviving stem cells from the PEG- PA thermogel were healthier than those from HTS in terms of (1) expression of stemness biomarkers (NANOG, OCT4, and SOX2), (2) proliferation rate, and (3) differentiation potentials into osteogenic, chondrogenic, and adipogenic lineages. Membrane stabilization was suggested as a cell protection mechanism in the cytocompatible PEG-PA thermogel. The PEG-PA thermogel provides a convenient cytocompatible way for the storage and recovery of cells and thus is a promising tool for the transportation and short-term banking of cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5390-5399
Number of pages10
Issue number12
StatePublished - 13 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (nos. 2020R1A2C2007101 and 2017R1A5A1015365) and the Korea Basic Science Institute (National Research Facilities and Equipment Center) grant funded by the Ministry of Education (2020R1A6C101B194).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Chemical Society.


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