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Tissue Eng. 2006 Jun;12(6):1515-25.

Embryoid body-mediated differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells along a hepatocyte lineage: insights from gene expression profiles.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA.


Pluripotent embryonic stem (ES) cells represent a promising renewable cell source for the generation of functional differentiated cells. Previous studies incorporating embryoid body (EB)-mediated stem cell differentiation have, either spontaneously or after growth factor and extracellular matrix protein supplementation, yielded populations of hepatocyte lineage cells expressing mature hepatocyte markers such as albumin (ALB). In an effort to promote ES cell commitment to the hepatocyte lineage, we have evaluated the effects of four culture conditions on albumin and gene expression in differentiating ES cells. Quantitative in situ immunofluorescence and cDNA microarray analyses were used to describe not only lineage specificity but also to provide insights into the effects of disparate culture environments on the mechanisms of differentiation. The results of these studies suggest that spontaneous and collagen-mediated differentiation induce cells with the highest levels of ALB expression but mature liver specific genes were only expressed in the spontaneous condition. Further analysis of gene expression profiles indicated that two distinct mechanisms may govern spontaneous and collagen-mediated differentiation.

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