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Tissue Eng. 2004 Sep-Oct;10(9-10):1518-25.

In vitro differentiation and in vivo mineralization of osteogenic cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.

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Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Centre, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Chelsea and Westminster Campus, London, UK.


The first report of the derivation of embryonic stem (ES) cell lines from human blastocysts had major implications for research into developmental biology and regenerative medicine. Finding efficient and reproducible methods to derive therapeutically useful cells from an ES cell source is a key feature of many regenerative medicine strategies. We have previously demonstrated that it is possible to induce osteogenic differentiation of murine ES cells by supplementing the culture medium with ascorbic acid, beta-glycerophosphate, and dexamethasone. This study investigated whether methods for driving osteogenic differentiation developed with murine ES cells could be applied successfully to human ES cells. The H1 line was propagated in vitro on murine feeder layers and shown to be pluripotent by expression of the markers Oct-4 and SSEA-4. Subsequently, differentiation was initiated via embryoid body (EB) formation and, after 5 days in suspension culture, cells harvested from EBs were replated in a medium containing osteogenic supplements. We found that the treatment regimen previously identified as optimal for murine ES cells, and in particular the addition of dexamethasone at specific time points, also induced the greatest osteogenic response from human ES cells. We identified mineralizing cells in vitro that immunostained positively for osteocalcin and found an increase in expression of an essential bone transcription factor, Runx2. When implanted into SCID mice on a poly-D, L-lactide (PDLLA) scaffold, the cells had the capacity to give rise to mineralized tissue in vivo. After 35 days of implantation, regions of mineralized tissue could be identified within the scaffold by von Kossa staining and immunoexpression of the human form of osteocalcin. We did not see any evidence of teratoma formation. These data therefore demonstrate the derivation of osteoblasts from pluripotent human ES cells with the capacity to form mineralized tissue both in vitro and in vivo. We have also shown that a culture methodology established for differentiation of murine ES cells was entirely transferable to human ES cells. Further development of this technology will result in the capacity to generate sufficient yields of osteogenic cells for use in skeletal tissue repair.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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