Embryonic stem (ES) cells are an attractive source for tissue regeneration and repair therapies. This is because in contrast to adult stem cells, ES cells possess unlimited self-renewal and pluripotent capacity. However, for the therapeutic application of ES cells to succeed, the transplanted ES cells must engraft successfully and survive long enough to exert a therapeutic effect. An important obstacle facing the in vivo engraftment and function of ES cells is the immunogenic barrier. In this chapter, we will begin by briefly discussing the safety concerns regarding the transplantation of ES cells and the factors that influence the behavior or misbehavior of transplanted ES cells. We will then discuss the in vitro immunogenic properties of ES cells, including the expression of major histocompatibility (MHC) antigens and minor histocompatibility (mH) antigens and how these properties evolve as undifferentiated cells mature towards more differentiated derivatives. We will also highlight the various (and in some instances conflicting) conclusions regarding the immunogenic properties of ES cells which have been drawn from prior in vitro studies and will conclude with a more extensive discussion of the immunogenic properties of ES cells when transplanted across allogeneic as well as xenogeneic immune barriers.
Major Histocompatibility Complex Embryonic Stem Cell Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Teratoma Formation Major Histocompatibility Complex Antigen
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This work was supported by NIH R01 AI085575.
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