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Stem Cell Res. 2012 May;8(3):335-45. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2011.12.006. Epub 2011 Dec 21.

Stepwise differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into early endoderm derivatives and their molecular characterization.

Author information

1
Stem Cell Unit, Department of Genetics, The Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.

Abstract

Human embryonic stem cells have the potential to differentiate into all human cell types and therefore hold a great therapeutic promise. Differentiation into the embryonic endoderm and its derivatives is of special interest since it can provide a cure for severe widespread clinical conditions such as diabetes and hepatic failure. In this work we established a unique experimental outline that enables the study of early human endoderm development and can help improve and create new differentiation protocols. To this end we started with mesendoderm cells and separated them into early endoderm and mesoderm progenitor cells using CXCR4 and PDGFRA cell surface markers. We molecularly characterized the different lineages, and demonstrated the importance of the TGFβ pathway in definitive endoderm initiation. The endoderm progenitor cells were then purified creating an endodermal differentiation niche that is not affected by other cell populations. We followed the differentiation of these cells at different time points, and demonstrated an up regulation of genes indicative to differentiation into both foregut and hindgut. Surprisingly, upon continued culture, there was significant down regulation of the hepatic gene signature. This down regulation could be rescued with FGF2 treatment demonstrating its importance in hepatic cell maintenance. In conclusion, we suggest that isolating endoderm progenitor cells is crucial for the analysis of their fate, and enables the identification of factors involved in their differentiation and maintenance.

PMID:
22286009
DOI:
10.1016/j.scr.2011.12.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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