Differentiation of embryonic stem cells towards hematopoietic cells: progress and pitfalls.

Department of Medicine, Stem Cell Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.
Current opinion in hematology (Impact Factor: 4.05). 08/2008; 15(4):312-8. DOI: 10.1097/MOH.0b013e328302f429
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Hematopoietic development from embryonic stem cells has been one of the most productive areas of stem cell biology. Recent studies have progressed from work with mouse to human embryonic stem cells. Strategies to produce defined blood cell populations can be used to better understand normal and abnormal hematopoiesis, as well as potentially improve the generation of hematopoietic cells with therapeutic potential.
Molecular profiling, phenotypic and functional analyses have all been utilized to demonstrate that hematopoietic cells derived from embryonic stem cells most closely represent a stage of hematopoiesis that occurs at embryonic/fetal developmental stages. Generation of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells comparable to hematopoietic stem cells found in the adult sources, such as bone marrow and cord blood, still remains challenging. However, genetic manipulation of intrinsic factors during hematopoietic differentiation has proven a suitable approach to induce adult definitive hematopoiesis from embryonic stem cells.
Concrete evidence has shown that embryonic stem cells provide a powerful approach to study the early stage of hematopoiesis. Multiple hematopoietic lineages can be generated from embryonic stem cells, although most of the evidence suggests that hematopoietic development from embryonic stem cells mimics an embryonic/fetal stage of hematopoiesis.

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