Cooper5e_Ch17

Embryoid bodies cell differentiation blood cells

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Unformatted text preview: of using embryonic stem cells in clinical transplantation therapies. Mouse embryonic stem cells are grown in the presence of a growth factor called LIF (for leukemia inhibitory factor), which signals through the JAK/STAT pathway (see Figure 15.40) and is required to maintain these cells in their undifferentiated state (Figure 17.24). If LIF is removed from the medium, the cells aggregate into structures that resemble embryos (embryoid bodies) and then differentiate into a wide range of cell types, including neurons, adipocytes, blood cells, epithelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells, and even beating heart muscle cells. Human embryonic stem cells do not require LIF but are similarly maintained in the undifferentiated state by other growth factors, which are not yet fully characterized. Importantly, embryonic stem cells can be directed to differentiate along specific pathways by the addition of appropriate growth factors to the culture medium. It may thus be possible to derive populations of specific types of cells, such as heart cells or nerve cells, for transplantation therapy. For example, methods h...
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