Objective: Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) constitute unique sources of pluripotent cells, although the molecular mechanisms involved in their differentiation into specific lineages are just beginning to be defined. Here we evaluated the ability of MEDII (medium conditioned by HepG2 cells, a human hepatocarcinoma cell line) to selectively enhance generation of mesodermal derivatives, including hematopoietic cells, from hESCs and hiPSCs. Materials and Methods: Test cells were exposed to MEDII prior to being placed in conditions that promote embryoid body (EB) formation. Hematopoietic activity was measured by clonogenic assays, flow cytometry, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction of specific transcript complementary DNAs and the ability of cells to repopulate sublethally irradiated nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient interleukin-2 receptor γ-chain-null mice for almost 1 year. Results: Exposure of both hESCs and hiPSCs to MEDII induced a rapid and preferential differentiation of hESCs into mesodermal elements. Subsequently produced EBs showed a further enhanced expression of transcripts characteristic of multiple mesodermal lineages, and a concurrent decrease in endodermal and ectodermal cell transcripts. Frequency of all types of clonogenic hematopoietic progenitors in subsequently derived EBs was also increased. In vivo assays of MEDII-treated hESC-derived EBs also showed they contained cells able to undertake low-level but longterm multilineage repopulation of primary and secondary nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient interleukin-2 receptor γ-chain-null mice. Conclusions: MEDII treatment of hESCs and hiPSCs alike selectively enhances their differentiation into mesodermal cells and allows subsequent generation of detectable levels of hematopoietic progenitors with in vitro and in vivo differentiating activity. © 2009 ISEH - Society for Hematology and Stem Cells.
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