Embryonic stem (ES) cells are a cell culture derivative of the blastocyst inner cell mass (ICM), the latter giving rise to the embryo, the amnion, the yolk sac, and the chrorioallantoic portion of the placenta. Blastocyst injection chimera experiments show that ES cells are similar to early-stage ICM cells in that they contribute to the primitive ectoderm and endoderm derivatives (1). However, it is probably not possible to equate these two cell types, as ES cells appear to be produced by the cell culture environment and have no exact counterpart in the blastocyst. Instead, ES cells could be thought of as being ICM cells that, instead of undergoing rapid differentiation as they would in vivo, are abnormally locked into continuing cycles of division in the undifferentiated state by virtue of the action of exogenous factors. Leukemia inhibitory factor, LIF, is one such factor (2,3) and is indispensable for the propagation of mouse ES cells at least when primary embryo fibroblasts (PEFs) are used as feeder layers (4).
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Methods in Molecular Biology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2001|