Background: To avoid potential risks of animal-derived products such as viral transmission and immunologic reactions, usefulness of human-derived products in manipulation of cells for cell-based therapies has been investigated but has not yet been completely clarified.
Methods: Three types of human sera—serum from whole blood, serum from platelet-rich plasma, and serum from platelet-poor plasma—were prepared from blood samples obtained from the same four volunteers. The authors investigated the biochemical profiles of the three serum preparations as well as their potential as culture additives using three types of human cells: dermal fibroblasts, adipose-derived stem/stromal cells, and umbilical vein endothelial cells.
Results: Platelet counts differed among serum from whole blood (100 percent), platelet-rich plasma (75.1 percent), and platelet-poor plasma (12.6 percent), resulting in differential concentrations of platelet-derived growth factor and epidermal growth factor, although other biochemical values such as total protein and albumin were similar. Serum from whole blood and platelet-rich plasma highly enhanced proliferation of dermal fibroblasts compared with the effects of serum from platelet-poor plasma, but no differences in proliferative efficacy were observed in cultures of adipose-derived stem/stromal cells and vascular endothelial cells.
Conclusions: Serum from platelet-rich plasma, which is less invasive to prepare than serum from whole blood, was superior to serum from platelet-poor plasma as a substitute for animal-derived serum in culture expansion of dermal fibroblasts. Although autologous or human-derived serum preparations may be of great use in cell-based therapies, this usefulness strongly depends on the target cell species and the purpose of the cell culture.