Retinoic acid improve germ cell differentiation from human embryonic stem cells|
Xuemei, Liu; Jing, Yue; Bei, Xu; Juan, Hu; Xinling, Ren; Qun, Liu & Guijin, Zhu
Background: Creation of artificial gametes may provide a universal solution for these patients with no gametes. Stem cell technology may provide a way to obtain fully functional gametes. Retinoic acid (RA) can initiate meiosis. Several studies have demonstrated that RA can promote sperm cells differentiation from mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) and other cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs).
Objective: We sought to determine whether RA could promote differentiation of germ cells from hESCs.
Materials and Methods: hESCs were differentiated as embryoid bodies (EBs) in suspension with all-trans RA (atRA) or without atRA for 0, 1, 3, 5 and 7 days, and then the expression of VASA, SCP3, GDF9 and TEKT1 were compared by real-time PCR. The statistical differences were evaluated by one way ANOVA.
Results: The expression of germ cell-specific markers including the gonocyte marker VASA, the meiotic marker SCP3, and post meiotic markers, GDF9 and TEKT1, all increased in the presence and absence of RA as EB differentiation progressed. In addition, the expression of these markers increased an average of 9.3, 6.9, 7.2 and 11.8 fold respectively in the presence of RA, compared to the absence of RA, over 5 days differentiation.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that hESCs may have the potential to differentiate to primordial germ cells (PGCs) and early gametes. RA can improve germ cells differentiation from hESCs.
Cell Differentiation; Embryonic Stem Cells; Germ cells; Retinoic acid