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Cellular & Molecular Biology Letters

Open Access

Identification of molecules derived from human fibroblast feeder cells that support the proliferation of human embryonic stem cells

  • Sergey V. Anisimov1, 2, 3,
  • Nicolaj S. Christophersen1,
  • Ana S. Correia1, 4,
  • Vanessa J. Hall1, 5,
  • Ingrid Sandelin1, 6,
  • Jia-Yi Li1 and
  • Patrik Brundin1Email author
Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal201016:39

Received: 23 June 2010

Accepted: 29 November 2010

Published: 15 December 2010


The majority of human embryonic stem cell lines depend on a feeder cell layer for continuous growth in vitro, so that they can remain in an undifferentiated state. Limited knowledge is available concerning the molecular mechanisms that underlie the capacity of feeder cells to support both the proliferation and pluripotency of these cells. Importantly, feeder cells generally lose their capacity to support human embryonic stem cell proliferation in vitro following long-term culture. In this study, we performed large-scale gene expression profiles of human foreskin fibroblasts during early, intermediate and late passages using a custom DNA microarray platform (NeuroStem 2.0 Chip). The microarray data was validated using RT-PCR and virtual SAGE analysis. Our comparative gene expression study identified a limited number of molecular targets potentially involved in the ability of human neonatal foreskin fibroblasts to serve as feeder cells for human embryonic stem cell cultures. Among these, the C-KIT, leptin and pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) genes were the most interesting candidates.

Key words

Human embryonic stem cellsFeeder cellsDNA microarray