Cellular therapy using embryonic stem cells has always been an area of great interest due to the pluripotent characteristics of stem cells. In 2006, Takahashi and Yamanaka (Cell 126, 663–676) demonstrated that somatic cells can be reprogrammed into a stem cell-like state, termed induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, by ectopic expression of Oct4, Sox2, Klf4 and c Myc. A later report (

Nakagawa et al.
Nat. Biotechnol.
) showed that iPS cells can be produced in the absence of the c Myc oncogene. We have used this latter strategy to successfully reprogram somatic cells derived from C57BL/6 mouse tail fibroblast to iPS cells. Retrovirus infected fibroblasts exhibited stem cell-like morphology by 14 days post infection. These iPS cells were then infected with a retrovirus that expressed HOXB4. Recombinant leukemia inhibitor factor (LIF) supplement was removed from media at this time and the cells allowed to differentiate into embryoid bodies. These cells were screened for specific differentiation stem cell markers, such as Oct4, Nanog, Sall4 and SSEA-1. iPS cells were converted into embryonic bodies and then infected with retroviruses expressing HOXB4. Embryoid bodies stably expressing HOXB4 were induced to hematopoietic differentiation by treatment of thrombopoietin (TPO), stem cell factor (SCF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), interferon gamma (IFNg) and fms-like tyrosine kinase (FLT3 ligand). Evaluation of iPS-derived hematopoietic cells on smears show strikingly similarity in morphology to the W4 mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells differentiated into hematopoietic cells as a control. Flow cytometry analysis of iPS-derived hematopoietic cells after 1 week exposure to cytokines revealed 7% B220+ cells (B cells), 11% Ter119+ cells (erythroid), and 13% Gr-1+ cells (granulocytes) similar to W4 ES cells. The iPS-derived hematopoietic cells were transplanted into irradiated immunodeficient mice via lateral tail vein injection. Transplantation of these iPS-derived hematopoietic progenitors tagged with GFP into irradiated SCID mice revealed that the hematopoietic progenitors were able to home to the bone marrow after 1 week of transplantation. Importantly, after 1 month, GFP+ engrafted cells remained in the bone marrow suggesting a long-term engraftment. This long term engraftment of the iPS-derived hematopoietic cells to the bone marrow constitutes an important step toward potential therapy of numerous patient-specific blood based diseases.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes

Corresponding author