Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
BMC Res Notes. 2014 Apr 29;7:273. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-7-273.

Cytotoxicity and activation of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway in mouse embryonic stem cells treated with four GSK3 inhibitors.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Clinical Biochemistry, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Str, 1, Hannover 30625, Germany.



Small membrane-permeable molecules are now widely used during maintenance and differentiation of embryonic stem cells of different species. In particular the glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) is an interesting target, since its chemical inhibition activates the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway. In the present comparative study four GSK3 inhibitors were characterized.


Cytotoxicity and potential to activate the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway were tested using the commonly used GSK3 inhibitors BIO, SB-216763, CHIR-99021, and CHIR-98014. Wnt/beta-catenin-dependent target genes were measured by quantitative PCR to confirm the Wnt-reporter assay and finally EC50-values were calculated.


CHIR-99021 and SB-216763 had the lowest toxicities in mouse embryonic stem cells and CHIR-98014 and BIO the highest toxicities. Only CHIR-99021 and CHIR-98014 lead to a strong induction of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway, whereas BIO and SB-216763 showed a minor or no increase in activation of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway over the natural ligand Wnt3a. The data from the Wnt-reporter assay were confirmed by gene expression analysis of the TCF/LEF regulated gene T.


Out of the four tested GSK3 inhibitors, only CHIR-99021 and CHIR-98014 proved to be potent pharmacological activators of the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway. But only in the case of CHIR-99021 high potency was combined with very low toxicity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk