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Minerva Ginecologica 2011 August;63(4):351-63


language: English

Origins of pluripotent stem cells

Roelen B. A. J. 1, 2, Chuva De Sousa Lopes S. M. 3

1 Department of Farm Animal Health; 2 Department of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands; 3 Department of Anatomy and Embryology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands


Different types of pluripotent stem cells can be identified and cultured in vitro. Here an overview is presented of the various pluripotent stem cells types. Embryonal carcinoma (EC) cells that have been cultured in vitro provided the groundwork for future pluripotent cell cultures. Conditions established for these cells such as culture on a feeder layer of mouse embryonic fibroblasts and the importance of fetal calf serum were initially also used for the culture of mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells derived from the inner cell masses of blastocysts. Embryonic stem cells derived from human blastocysts were found to require different conditions and are cultured in the presence of activin and basic fibroblast growth factor. Recently pluripotent stem cells have also been derived from mouse peri-implantation epiblasts. Since these epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs) require the same conditions as the human ES cells it has been suggested that human ES cells are more similar to mouse EpiSCs than to mouse ES cells. Pluripotent cell lines have also been derived from migratory primordial germ cells and spermatogonial stem cells. The creation of pluripotent stem cells from adult cells by the introduction of reprogramming transcription factors, so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells allowed the derivation of patient-specific pluripotent stem cells without the need of creation of a human blastocyst after cloning by somatic cells nuclear transfer. Recently it has become clear however that iPS cells may be quite different to ES cells in terms of epigenetics.

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