Formation and Hematopoietic Differentiation of Human Embryoid Bodies by Suspension and Hanging Drop Cultures
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The in vitro aggregation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) into clusters termed embryoid bodies (EBs) allows for the spontaneous differentiation of cells representing endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm lineages. This stochastic process results however, in the generation of low numbers of differentiated cells, and can be enhanced to some extent by the addition of exogenous growth factors or overexpression of regulatory genes. In the authors' laboratory, the use of hematopoietic cytokines in combination with the mesoderm inducer bone morphogenetic protein-4 (BMP-4) was able to generate up to 90% of CD45(+) hematopoietic cells with colony-forming unit (CFU) activity. This unit describes two protocols that have been successfully applied in the authors' laboratory for the generation of EBs in (1) suspension and (2) hanging drop (HD) cultures from enzymatically digested clumps of undifferentiated hESC colonies.
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