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Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2004 Jan-Feb;32(1):5-10.

Hematopoietic differentiation of rhesus monkey embryonic stem cells.

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Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Several lines of embryonic stem cells (ESC) have been established from rhesus monkey blastocysts. We have examined two of these cell lines for their potential for generating hematopoietic progenitors in cell culture, and we identified culture conditions, including supplementation with bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP), that result in hematopoietic differentiation of rhesus ESC with high efficiency. We have also characterized the resulting hematopoietic progenitor cells for their patterns of gene expression, as compared to those of hematopoietic progenitor cells harvested from rhesus monkey bone marrow. Of more than 60 genes examined in this manner, CD34+/CD38- cells derived from embryonic stem cells and those obtained from bone marrow demonstrated very similar patterns of gene expression. However, with integrin alphaL, IL-6 receptor, and flt-3 gene expression was greatly diminished or absent in CD34+/CD38- cells derived from the ESC, whereas the bone marrow-derived progenitors showed substantial expression of all of these genes. When the same type of comparison was done with mouse (D3 and CCE) as well as human (H1) embryonic stem cells, in each case comparing ESC-derived hematopoietic progenitors with those harvested from bone marrow, the only consistent deficiency of gene expression was that of flt-3. In hematopoietic precursors derived from mouse ESC, globin-gene expression has previously been shown to be a useful index of the embryological maturity of the cells, and we also examined globin-gene expression in rhesus monkey ESC-derived hematopoietic precursor cells, using a semiquantitative technique. CD34+/CD38- cells demonstrated expression of the epsilon- and gamma-globin genes, but negligible levels of beta globin, suggesting that these cells were at the developmental stage in which the yolk sac and fetal liver are the primary sites of hematopoiesis.

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