Maintenance of human embryonic stem cells in mesenchymal stem cell-conditioned media augments hematopoietic specification


The realization of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) as a model for human developmental hematopoiesis and in potential cell replacement strategies relies on an improved understanding of the extrinsic and intrinsic factors regulating hematopoietic-specific hESC differentiation. Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are multipotent cells of mesodermal origin that form a part of hematopoietic stem cell niches and have an important role in the regulation of hematopoiesis through production of secreted factors and/or cell-to-cell interactions. We have previously shown that hESCs may be successfully maintained feeder free using hMSC-conditioned media (MSC-CM). Here, we hypothesized that hESCs maintained in MSC-CM may be more prone to differentiation toward hematopoietic lineage than hESCs grown in standard human foreskin fibroblast-conditioned media. We report that specification into hemogenic progenitors and subsequent hematopoietic differentiation and clonogenic progenitor capacity is robustly enhanced in hESC lines maintained in MSC-CM. Interestingly, co-culture of hESCs on hMSCs fully abrogates hematopoietic specification of hESCs, thus suggesting that the improved hematopoietic differentiation is mediated by MSC-secreted factors rather than by MSC-hESC physical interactions. To investigate the molecular mechanism involved in this process, we analyzed global (LINE-1) methylation and genome-wide promoter DNA methylation. hESCs grown in MSC-CM showed a decrease of 17% in global DNA methylation and a promoter DNA methylation signature consisting of 45 genes commonly hypomethylated and 102 genes frequently hypermethylated. Our data indicate that maintenance of hESCs in MSC-CM robustly augments hematopoietic specification and that the process seems mediated by MSC-secreted factors conferring a DNA methylation signature to undifferentiated hESCs which may influence further predisposition toward hematopoietic specification.

Authors Ramos-Mejía V, Fernández AF, Ayllón V, Real PJ, Bueno C, Anderson P, Martín F, Fraga MF, Menendez P
Journal Stem cells and development
Publication Date 2012 Jun 10;21(9):1549-58
PubMed 21936705
DOI 10.1089/scd.2011.0400

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