Enhancement of differentiation efficiency of hESCs into vascular lineage cells in hypoxia via a paracrine mechanism

CHA Bio & Diostech Co., Ltd. 606-16 Yeoksam 1 dong, Gangnam gu, Seoul 135-907, Republic of Korea.
Stem Cell Research (Impact Factor: 3.69). 11/2011; 7(3):173-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.scr.2011.06.002
Source: PubMed


Hypoxia is one way of inducing differentiation due to the activation of the key regulatory factor, Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α). However, the action of HIF-1α on the differentiation of hESCs was unclear until now. To investigate the effect of hypoxia on the differentiation of hESCs, we compared the differentiation efficacy into vascular lineage cells under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. We observed HIF-1α expression and the related expression of pro-angiogenic factors VEGF, bFGF, Ang-1 and PDGF in hEBs cultured under hypoxic conditions. Along with this, differentiation efficacy into vascular lineage cells was improved under hypoxic conditions. When HIF-1α was blocked by echinomycin, both angiogenic factors and the differentiation efficacy were down-regulated, suggesting that the enhancement of differentiation efficacy was caused by intrinsic up-regulation of HIF-1α and these pro-angiogenic factors under hypoxic condition. This response might be primarily regulated by the HIF-1α signal pathway, and hypoxia might be the key to improving the differentiation of hESCs into vascular lineage cells. Therefore, this study demonstrated that microenvironmental changes (i.e., hypoxia) can improve differentiation efficacy of hESCs into a vascular lineage without exogenous factors via cell-intrinsic up-regulation of angiogenic factors. These facts will contribute to the regulation of stem cell fate.

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