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Mol Cells. 2004 Apr 30;17(2):309-15.

Establishment of a human embryonic germ cell line and comparison with mouse and human embryonic stem cells.

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Division of Stem Cell Biology, Medical Research Center, MizMedi Hospital, Seoul 157-280, Korea.

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Human embryonic stem (ES) cells and embryonic germ (EG) cells are pluripotent and are invaluable material for in vitro studies of human embryogenesis and cell therapy. So far, only two groups have reported the establishment of human EG cell lines, whereas at least five human ES cell lines have been established. To see if human EG cell lines can be reproducibly established, we isolated primordial germ cells (PGCs) from gonadal ridges and mesenteries (9 weeks post-fertilization) and cultured them on mouse STO cells. As with mouse ES colonies, the PGC-derived cells have given rise to multilayered colonies without any differentiation over a year of continuous culture. They are karyotypically normal and express high levels of alkaline phosphatase, Oct-4, and several cell-surface markers. Histological and immunocytochemical analysis of embryoid bodies (EBs) formed from floating cultures of the PGC-derived cell colonies revealed ectodermal, endodermal, and mesodermal tissues. When the EBs were cultured in the presence of insulin, transferrin, sodium selenite, and fibronectin for 1 week, markers of primitive neuroectoderm were expressed in cells within the EBs as well as in cells growing out from the EBs. These observations indicate that our PGC-derived cells satisfy the criteria for pluripotent stem cells and hence may be EG cells.

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