Biologic properties and enucleation of red blood cells from human embryonic stem cells


Human erythropoiesis is a complex multistep process that involves the differentiation of early erythroid progenitors to mature erythrocytes. Here we show that it is feasible to differentiate and mature human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) into functional oxygen-carrying erythrocytes on a large scale (10(10)-10(11) cells/6-well plate hESCs). We also show for the first time that the oxygen equilibrium curves of the hESC-derived cells are comparable with normal red blood cells and respond to changes in pH and 2,3-diphosphoglyerate. Although these cells mainly expressed fetal and embryonic globins, they also possessed the capacity to express the adult beta-globin chain on further maturation in vitro. Polymerase chain reaction and globin chain specific immunofluorescent analysis showed that the cells increased expression of beta-globin (from 0% to > 16%) after in vitro culture. Importantly, the cells underwent multiple maturation events, including a progressive decrease in size, increase in glycophorin A expression, and chromatin and nuclear condensation. This process resulted in extrusion of the pycnotic nuclei in up to more than 60% of the cells generating red blood cells with a diameter of approximately 6 to 8 mum. The results show that it is feasible to differentiate and mature hESCs into functional oxygen-carrying erythrocytes on a large scale.

Authors Lu SJ, Feng Q, Park JS, Vida L, Lee BS, Strausbauch M, Wettstein PJ, Honig GR, Lanza R
Journal Blood
Publication Date 2008 Dec 1;112(12):4475-84
PubMed 18713948
PubMed Central PMC2597123
DOI 10.1182/blood-2008-05-157198

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