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Stem Cell Res. 2007 Oct;1(1):61-74. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2007.09.004.

Effects of fgf2 and oxygen in the bmp4-driven differentiation of trophoblast from human embryonic stem cells.

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  • 1Department of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center, 65211, USA.


Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) differentiate into trophoblast when treated with BMP4. Here we studied the effects of either low (4 % O(2), L) or atmospheric O(2) (20% O(2), A) in the presence and absence of FGF2 on H1 hESC cultured in presence of BMP4. Differentiation progressed from the periphery towards the center of colonies. It occurred most quickly in the absence of FGF2 and under A and was slowest in presence of FGF2 and under L. Chorionic gonadotrophin (CG) production required A while FGF2 suppressed progesterone synthesis under both A and L. FGF2 was then omitted while we examined trophoblast markers SSEA-1 and cytokeratin-7 and -8, whose expression also progressed inwards from the periphery of colonies and occurred more rapidly under A than L. By day 5, most cells outside central islands of Oct4-positive cells were positive for these antigens under both conditions and many also expressed HLA-G, a marker of extra-villous cytotrophoblast. Under A, but not L, CGalpha and CGbeta became prominent in GATA2-positive, peripherally located, multinucleated cells. In conclusion, BMP4 induced conversion of hESC exclusively towards trophoblast; FGF2 slowed differentiation, while O(2) accelerated this process and promoted syncytiotrophoblast formation.


Cytokeratin; Cytotrophoblast; HLA-G; Human chorionic gonadotropin; Progesterone; Syncytiotrophoblast

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