Human umbilical cord blood cell co-culture supports embryonic stem cell expansion

Nov 15, 2012

Researchers in Taiwan have developed a "safe, feasible and robust co-culture system" supplied by human umbilical cord mensenchymal stem cells (HUCMSCs) to feed the sustained culture used for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) expansion prior to cell transplantation. The co-culture, said the researchers, "appears to eliminate the most feared characteristic of transplanted hESCs," which is their propensity to form tumors.

The study, published in the current issue of , is now freely available on-line at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/.

" have pluripotent potential," said study co-author Dr. Tang-Yuan Chu of the Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital at Tzu Chi University in Hualien, Taiwan. "The sustained maintenance of hESCs depends on a co-culture with an animal based "feeder" that can create the risk for transmitting nonhuman materials and unknown pathogens. To solve this problem, human tissues have been used as feeders."

The expansion of pluripotent hESCs traditionally requires a feeder culture, meaning that a variety of animal and human tissues have been used in feeder cultures.

The researchers note that while hESCs have been successfully co-cultured using human fetal muscle and , adult epithelial cells, foreskin cells, and bone marrow stem cells, their study used hUCMScs to create a co-culture. They said that using hUCMSCs as a source feeder has several advantages, including their wide availability, ease of handling and low .

However, according to the researchers, when using various mouse or primate tissues, and even when using human tissues for co-cultures, tumor-like formations called "teratomas" - growths containing tissues belonging to all three germ layers - often form. Although undesirable, teratomas have been used as a marker for the ability of stem cells to be able to develop pluripotency.

This study demonstrated that pluripotency development need not necessarily be teratoma forming.

"We suggest that the feeder we developed from hUCMSCs may support the transition of hESCs that does not grow teratomas because, unlike tissue sources for other feeders, by using hUCMSCs we did not use material comprised of all three germ layers," said the researchers.

"In addition to eliminating teratomas, the proposed system also significantly reduces the workload involved in the preparation of new feeder lines," they concluded.

Explore further: The accelerator of molecular motors: What drives peroxisomes to degrading pollutants

More information: Ding, D-C.; Shyu, W-C.; Lin, S-Z.; Liu, H-W; Chiou, S-H.; Chu, T-Y. Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells Support Nontumorigenic Expansion of Human Embryonic Stem Cells Cell Transplant. 21(7):1515-1527; 2012.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Key protein reveals secret of stem cell pluripotency

Sep 06, 2011

A protein that helps maintain mouse stem cell pluripotency has been identified by researchers at the RIKEN Omics Science Center. The finding, published in the August issue of Stem Cells (first published online ...

Stem cells thrive on superficial relationships

Aug 10, 2012

Stem cells are renowned for their capacity to develop into a wide range of mature cell types but they cannot maintain this flexibility on their own. In the body, neighboring cells help maintain this ‘pluripotent’ ...

Recommended for you

Environmental pollutants make worms susceptible to cold

Sep 19, 2014

Some pollutants are more harmful in a cold climate than in a hot, because they affect the temperature sensitivity of certain organisms. Now researchers from Danish universities have demonstrated how this ...

User comments : 0