Pluripotent stem cells are defined by their capacity to differentiate into all three tissue layers that comprise the body. Chimera formation, generated by stem cell transplantation to the embryo, is a stringent assessment of stem cell pluripotency. However, the ability of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) to form embryonic chimeras remains in question. Here we show using a stage-matching approach that human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have the capacity to participate in normal mouse development when transplanted into gastrula-stage embryos, providing in vivo functional validation of hPSC pluripotency. hiPSCs and hESCs form interspecies chimeras with high efficiency, colonize the embryo in a manner predicted from classical developmental fate mapping, and differentiate into each of the three primary tissue layers. This faithful recapitulation of tissue-specific fate post-transplantation underscores the functional potential of hPSCs and provides evidence that human-mouse interspecies developmental competency can occur.
Mascetti, V. L., & Pedersen, R. A. (2016). Human-Mouse Chimerism Validates Human Stem Cell Pluripotency. Cell Stem Cell, 18(1), 67–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2015.11.017