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Hum Reprod. 1994 Nov;9(11):2110-7.

Isolation and culture of inner cell mass cells from human blastocysts.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, National University Hospital, Kent Ridge, Singapore.


Totipotent non-committed inner cell mass (ICM) cells from human blastocyts, if demonstrated to be capable of proliferating in vitro without differentiation, will have several beneficial uses, not only in the treatment of neurodegenerative and genetic disorders, but also as a model in studying the events involved in embryogenesis and genomic manipulation. Nine patients admitted to an in-vitro fertilization programme donated 21 spare embryos for this study. All 21 embryos were grown from the 2-pronuclear until blastocyst stages on a human tubal epithelial monolayer in commercial Earle's medium (Medicult, Denmark) supplemented with 10% human serum. The medium was changed after blastocyst formation to Chang's medium supplemented with 1000 units/ml of human leukaemia inhibitory factor (HLIF) and the embryos left undisturbed for 72 h to allow the hatched ICM and trophoblast to attach to the feeder monolayer. Nineteen of the 21 embryos from nine patients produced healthy ICM lumps which could be separated and grown in vitro. Two of the lumps differentiated into fibroblasts while the remaining 17 (eight patients) produced cells with typical stem cell-like morphology, were alkaline phosphatase positive and could be maintained for two passages. It was possible to retain the stem cell-like morphology, alkaline phosphatase positiveness and normal karyotype through the two passages in all of them using repeated doses of HLIF every 48 to 72 h. This is the first report on the successful isolation of human ICM cells and their continued culture for at least two passages in vitro.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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