Generation of functional erythrocytes from human embryonic stem cell-derived definitive hematopoiesis.

Division of Cellular Therapy, Advanced Clinical Research Center, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 10/2008; 105(35):13087-92. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0802220105
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A critical issue for clinical utilization of human ES cells (hESCs) is whether they can generate terminally mature progenies with normal function. We recently developed a method for efficient production of hematopoietic progenitors from hESCs by coculture with murine fetal liver-derived stromal cells. Large numbers of hESCs-derived erythroid progenitors generated by the coculture enabled us to analyze the development of erythropoiesis at a clone level and investigate their function. The results showed that the globin expression in the erythroid cells in individual clones changed in a time-dependent manner. In particular, embryonic epsilon-globin-expressing erythroid cells from individual clones decreased, whereas adult-type beta-globin-expressing cells increased to approximately 100% in all clones we examined, indicating that the cells undergo definitive hematopoiesis. Enucleated erythrocytes also appeared among the clonal progeny. A comparison analysis showed that hESC-derived erythroid cells took a similar differentiation pathway to human cord blood CD34(+) progenitor-derived cells when examined for the expression of glycophorin A, CD71 and CD81. Furthermore, these hESC-derived erythroid cells could function as oxygen carriers and had a sufficient glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity. The present study should provide an experimental model for exploring early development of human erythropoiesis and hemoglobin switching and may help in the discovery of drugs for hereditary diseases in erythrocyte development.

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    ABSTRACT: Adult hemoglobin composed of α- and β-globin reflects a change from expression of embryonic ε- and fetal γ-globin to adult β-globin in human erythroid cells, so-called globin switching. Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) are a potential source for in vitro erythrocyte production, but they show prominent expression of γ-globin with little β-globin expression, which indicates incomplete globin switching. To examine the mechanism of this impaired globin switching, we optimized multicolor flow cytometry to simultaneously follow expression of different globin subtypes using different immunofluorescent probes. This enabled us to detect upregulation of β-globin and the corresponding silencing of γ-globin at the single-cell level during cord blood CD34(+) cell-derived erythropoiesis, examined as an endogenous control. Using this approach, we initially characterized the heterogeneous β-globin expression in erythroblasts from several hPSC clones and confirmed the predominant expression of γ-globin. These hPSC-derived erythroid cells also displayed reduced expression of BCL11A-L. However, doxycycline-induced overexpression of BCL11A-L in selected hPSCs promoted γ-globin silencing. These results strongly suggest that impaired γ-globin silencing is associated with downregulated BCL11A-L in hPSC-derived erythroblasts and that multicolor staining of globin subtypes is an effective approach to studying globin switching in vitro.
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