Endodermal Progenitor Cells Generate Into Multiple Cell Types

Derived from embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, endodermal progenitor cells are not tumorigenic

FRIDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Endodermal progenitor (EP) cells derived from embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells can differentiate into multiple cell types, including functional pancreatic β-cells, and are not tumorigenic, according to a study published in the April 6 issue of Cell Stem Cell.

Noting that pluripotent stem cells can form tumors and fail to form pure populations of differentiated cell types, Xin Cheng, Ph.D., from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues manipulated embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells into becoming EP cells in vitro using cytokines.

The researchers established optimized growth conditions which allowed almost unlimited EP cell self-renewal. The EPs cells displayed morphology and gene expression patterns which were characteristic of endoderm. The EP cells could differentiate into multiple endoderm-derived cell types, including hepatocytes, intestinal epithelia, and pancreatic β-cells, after manipulation of culture conditions in vitro or after transplantation into mice. The pancreatic β-cells released insulin in response to glucose. The EP cells were not tumorigenic in mice.

"Thus, EP cells represent a powerful tool to study endoderm specification and offer a potentially safe source of endodermal-derived tissues for transplantation therapies," Cheng and colleagues conclude.

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