3D Spheroid Cultivation Alters the Extent and Progression of Osteogenic Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells Compared to 2D Cultivation
Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSC) are capable of progenitor cell fraction renewal or tissue-specific differentiation. These properties are maintained during in vitro cultivation, making them an interesting model system for testing biological and pharmacological compounds. Cell cultivation in 2D is commonly used to study cellular responses, but the 2D environment does not reflect the structural situation of most cell types. Therefore, 3D culture systems have been developed to provide a more accurate physiological environment in terms of cell–cell interactions. Since knowledge about the effects of 3D culture on specific differentiation processes is limited, we studied the effects on osteogenic differentiation and the release of factors affecting bone metabolism for up to 35 days and compared them with the effects in 2D culture. We demonstrated that the selected 3D model allowed the rapid and reliable formation of spheroids that were stable over several weeks and both accelerated and enhanced osteogenic differentiation compared with the 2D culture. Thus, our experiments provide new insights into the effects of cell arrangement of MSC in 2D and 3D. However, due to the different culture dimensions, various detection methods had to be chosen, which in principle limits the explanatory power of the comparison between 2D and 3D cultures.