Cells from Stem Cells Still Immature

Cells derived from embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells exhibit striking differences from the cells they’re supposed to represent.

By | August 18, 2011

Differentiated embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells are significantly different from the actual cell types whose properties they’re supposed to recapitulate, according to a study published this week in Cell Research. When researchers compared the gene expression of neural progenitor cells, hepatocytes, and fibroblasts derived from embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells with the same cell types taken from adult human tissues, they found that the stem cell-derived cells were much more similar to cells found during the first two months of fetal development. In fact, they found 100 differentially expressed genes in the cells differentiated from stem cells, half of which were genes expressed in pluripotent cells which had not been turned off.

“This finding may lead to exciting new ways to study early human development, but it also may present a challenge for transplantation, because the cells you end up with are not something that's indicative of a cell you'd find in an adult or even in a newborn baby," said senior author of the study William Lowry in a press release.

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