Objectives: To evaluate the affinity between human stem cells and human bladder cells by analyzing their migration and proliferation patterns in co-culture. Human stem cells have great potential for tissue engineering purposes. Co-culture of stem cells with mature cells may promote differentiation. Methods: Equal numbers of green fluorescent protein-labeled human embryonic germ cell derivates (SDECs) were plated, either alone or in the presence of red fluorescence-labeled (PKH 26) human bladder smooth muscle cells (SMCs) or urothelial cells (UROs). The co-cultures shared the same media (EGM2MV). The migration patterns of the different cell lines were measured daily, using an integrated grid, for 8 days with fluorescence microscopy. Results: SDECs, grown alone, had a robust basal migration rate of between 0.3 and 0.7 mm/day compared with SMCs, which had a rate of 0.1 to 0.3 mm/day and UROs with a rate of 0.1 to 0.2 mm/day. Stem cell migration was enhanced in co-culture with SMCs or UROs to 0.5 to 1.0 mm/day. Migration of SDECs was more linear, directed toward SMCs or UROs, compared with the circumferential growth when plated alone. SMCs, more than UROs, migrated more rapidly in the presence of stem cells. Conclusions: Human stem cells showed improved migration in the presence of mature human bladder cells and were attracted to them, as shown by the altered direction of growth. Thus, co-culture of human stem cells with host SMCs can enhance seeding of matrices due to positive chemotaxis. Identifying the responsible factors may help to augment chemotaxis between desired cell types and optimize tissue regeneration.
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