Improvement of Cell Survival during Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Definitive Endoderm Differentiation

Han Wang, Xie Luo, Li Yao, Donna M. Lehman, Pei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Definitive endoderm (DE) is a vital precursor for internal organs such as liver and pancreas. Efficient protocol to differentiate human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to DE is essential for regenerative medicine and for modeling diseases; yet, poor cell survival during DE differentiation remains unsolved. In this study, our use of B27 supplement in modified differentiation protocols has led to a substantial improvement. We used an SOX17-enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) reporter hESC line to compare and modify established DE differentiation protocols. Both total live cell numbers and the percentages of eGFP-positive cells were used to assess differentiation efficiency. Among tested protocols, three modified protocols with serum-free B27 supplement were developed to generate a high number of DE cells. Massive cell death was avoided during DE differentiation and the percentage of DE cells remained high. When the resulting DE cells were further differentiated toward the pancreatic lineage, the expression of pancreatic-specific markers was significantly increased. Similar high DE differentiation efficiency was observed in H1hESCs and iPSCs through the modified protocols. In B27 components, bovine serum albumin was found to facilitate DE differentiation and cell survival. Using our modified DE differentiation protocols, satisfactory quantities of quality DE can be produced as primary material for further endoderm lineage differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2536-2546
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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