alexa Separation of SSEA-4 and TRA-1-60 labelled undifferentiated human embryonic stem cells from a heterogeneous cell population using magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS) and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS)
Genetics & Molecular Biology

Genetics & Molecular Biology

Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy

Author(s): Chui Yee Fong, Ariff Bongso

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A major concern in human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived cell replacement therapy is the risk of tumorigenesis from undifferentiated hESCs residing in the population of hESC-derived cells. Separation of these undifferentiated hESCs from the differentiated derivatives using cell sorting methods may be a plausible approach in overcoming this problem. We therefore explored magnetic activated cell sorting (MACS) and fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) to separate labelled undifferentiated hESCs from a heterogeneous population of hESCs and hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HepG2) deliberately mixed respectively at different ratios (10:90, 20:80, 30:70, 40:60 and 50:50) to mimic a standard in vitro differentiation protocol, instead of using a hESC-differentiated cell population, so that we could be sure of the actual number of cells separated. HES-3 and HES-4 cells were labelled in separate experiments for the stem cell markers SSEA-4 and TRA-1-60 using primary antibodies. Anti-PE magnetic microbeads that recognize the PE-conjugated SSEA-4 labelled hESCs was added to the heterogeneous cell mixture and passed through the MACS column. The cells that passed through the column ('flow-through' fraction) and those retained ('labelled' fraction') were subsequently analysed using FACS. The maximum efficacy of hESCs retention using MACS was 81.0 +/- 2.9% (HES-3) and 83.6 +/- 4.2% (HES-4). Using FACS, all the undifferentiated hESCs labelled with the two cell-surface markers could be removed by selective gating. Both hESCs and HepG2 cells in the 'flow-through' fraction following MACS separation were viable in culture whereas by FACS separation only the HepG2 cells were viable. FACS efficiently helps to eliminate the undifferentiated hESCs based on their cell-surface antigens expressed.

This article was published in Stem Cell Rev. and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy

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