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Trends Biotechnol. 2002 Oct;20(10):417-9.

GP130 stimulation and the maintenance of stem cells.

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Institut für Biochemie, Christian-Albrechts-Universitat zu Kiel, Olshausenstr. 40, D-24098 Kiel, Germany.


Recent advantages with the cultivation of adult and embryonic stem cells have raised hopes for therapeutic applications of such cells in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Cultivation of stem cells on feeder cells or treatment of the cells with cytokines is necessary to maintain stem cells in an undifferentiated state and to keep their pluripotency. In particular, the cytokine leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) has been used to cultivate murine embryonic stem (ES) cells in the absence of feeder cells. For unknown reasons, LIF does not evoke the same effect on rat or human stem cells. This article summarizes what is known about, and the problems associated with, the cultivation of stem cells and suggests experimental strategies that might help to overcome these difficulties.

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