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Stem Cell Res. 2009 Mar;2(2):155-62. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2008.11.004. Epub 2008 Dec 3.

Micropatterning of human embryonic stem cells dissects the mesoderm and endoderm lineages.

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Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 3E1.


Human pluripotent cells such as human embryonic stem cells (hESC) are a great potential source of cells for cell-based therapies; however, directing their differentiation into the desired cell types with high purity remains a challenge. The stem cell microenvironment plays a vital role in directing hESC fate and we have previously shown that manipulation of colony size in a serum- and cytokine-free environment controls self-renewal and differentiation toward the extraembryonic endoderm lineage. Here we show that, in the presence of bone morphogenetic protein 2 and activin A, control of colony size using a microcontact printing technology is able to direct hESC fate to either the mesoderm or the endoderm lineage. Large, 1200-mum-diameter colonies give rise to mesoderm, while small 200-mum colonies give rise to definitive endoderm. This study links, for the first time, cellular organization to pluripotent cell differentiation along the mesoderm and endoderm lineages.

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