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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Sep 30;100 Suppl 1:11911-6. Epub 2003 Sep 22.

Nonhuman primate parthenogenetic stem cells.

Author information

  • 1Center for Neurobehavioral Study of Alcohol, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jan 13;101(2):693.


Parthenogenesis is the biological phenomenon by which embryonic development is initiated without male contribution. Whereas parthenogenesis is a common mode of reproduction in lower organisms, the mammalian parthenote fails to produce a successful pregnancy. We herein describe in vitro parthenogenetic development of monkey (Macaca fascicularis) eggs to the blastocyst stage, and their use to create a pluripotent line of stem cells. These monkey stem cells (Cyno-1 cells) are positive for telomerase activity and are immunoreactive for alkaline phosphatase, octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (Oct-4), stage-specific embryonic antigen 4 (SSEA-4), tumor rejection antigen 1-60 (TRA 1-60), and tumor rejection antigen 1-81 (TRA 1-81) (traditional markers of human embryonic stem cells). They have a normal chromosome karyotype (40 + 2) and can be maintained in vitro in an undifferentiated state for extended periods of time. Cyno-1 cells can be differentiated in vitro into dopaminergic and serotonergic neurons, contractile cardiomyocyte-like cells, smooth muscle, ciliated epithelia, and adipocytes. When Cyno-1 cells were injected into severe combined immunodeficient mice, teratomas with derivatives from all three embryonic germ layers were obtained. When grown on fibronectin/laminin-coated plates and in neural progenitor medium, Cyno-1 cells assume a neural precursor phenotype (immunoreactive for nestin). However, these cells remain proliferative and express no functional ion channels. When transferred to differentiation conditions, the nestin-positive precursors assume neuronal and epithelial morphologies. Over time, these cells acquire electrophysiological characteristics of functional neurons (appearance of tetrodotoxin-sensitive, voltage-dependent sodium channels). These results suggest that stem cells derived from the parthenogenetically activated nonhuman primate egg provide a potential source for autologous cell therapy in the female and bypass the need for creating a competent embryo.

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