Generating engraftable hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) is an ideal approach for obtaining induced HSCs for cell therapy. However, the path from PSCs to robustly induced HSCs (iHSCs) in vitro remains elusive. We hypothesize that the modification of hematopoietic niche cells by transcription factors facilitates the derivation of induced HSCs from PSCs. The Lhx2 transcription factor is expressed in fetal liver stromal cells but not in fetal blood cells. Knocking out Lhx2 leads to a fetal hematopoietic defect in a cell non-autonomous role. In this study, we demonstrate that the ectopic expression of Lhx2 in OP9 cells (OP9-Lhx2) accelerates the hematopoietic differentiation of PSCs. OP9-Lhx2 significantly increased the yields of hematopoietic progenitor cells via co-culture with PSCs in vitro. Interestingly, the co-injection of OP9-Lhx2 and PSCs into immune deficient mice also increased the proportion of hematopoietic progenitors via the formation of teratomas. The transplantation of phenotypic HSCs from OP9-Lhx2 teratomas but not from the OP9 control supported a transient repopulating capability. The upregulation of Apln gene by Lhx2 is correlated to the hematopoietic commitment property of OP9-Lhx2. Furthermore, the enforced expression of Apln in OP9 cells significantly increased the hematopoietic differentiation of PSCs. These results indicate that OP9-Lhx2 is a good cell line for regeneration of hematopoietic progenitors both in vitro and in vivo.
Chen, X., Zhao, Q., Li, C., Geng, Y., Huang, K., Zhang, J., … Wang, J. (2015). OP9-Lhx2 stromal cells facilitate derivation of hematopoietic progenitors both in vitro and in vivo. Stem Cell Research, 15(2), 395–402. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scr.2015.08.009