Author(s): Xu RH, Peck RM, Li DS, Feng X, Ludwig T,
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Abstract Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are routinely cultured on fibroblast feeder layers or in fibroblast-conditioned medium (CM). Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) have previously been shown to induce hESC differentiation, in apparent contrast to mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells, in which BMP4 synergizes with leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) to maintain self-renewal. Here we demonstrate that hESCs cultured in unconditioned medium (UM) are subjected to high levels of BMP signaling activity, which is reduced in CM. The BMP antagonist noggin synergizes with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) to repress BMP signaling and sustain undifferentiated proliferation of hESCs in the absence of fibroblasts or CM. These findings suggest a basic difference in the self-renewal mechanism between mouse and human ES cells and simplify the culture of hESCs.
This article was published in Nat Methods
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy