The use of embryonic stem cells to study hematopoietic development in mammals
To study the process of mesoderm and subsequent hematopoietic cell development in mammals, we used embryonic stem (ES) cells in vitro differentiation. In fetal bovine serum containing medium, ES cell differentiation appears to be refractive to most exogenously added growth factors. Therefore to avoid the masking effects of serum we developed a serum-free, chemically defined medium (CDM). In CDM, ES cells grown as aggregates (known as embryoid bodies (EBs)), differentiate to neuroectoderm. If however activin A is added to CDM, both neuroectoderm and mesoderm develop. If bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP-4) is present in CDM, a process resembling primitive streak formation (at the molecular level) is induced, including the development of hematopoietic cells. These data combined with other reports strongly suggest that BMP-4 is intimately involved in mesoderm formation and possibly early hematopoietic development.
KeywordsEmbryonic Stem Cell Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Definitive Endoderm chemicaIly Define Medium Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation
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