Hematopoietic differentiation from human induced pluripotent stem (iPS)/embryonic stem (ES) cell attracts much attention due to its huge potential for regenerative medicine. As indicated by some earlier papers, there is large variation in differentiation potential among pluripotent stem cell (PSC) lines, and this is one of major concerns in clinical application of PSCs. If it becomes possible to predict which PSC line has high differentiation potential without real differentiation experiment, it would greatly contribute to clinical application of PSCs. Although some papers reported about presence of epigenetic memories of parental somatic cells in iPS cells, the amount of the influence on differentiation potential remains to be known. Furthermore, especially in studies using human PSCs, genetic difference among individual donors of iPS/ES cells seems to be large, thus the study using many PSC lines from many donors is warranted. To address these issues, we planned to collect data of many iPS/ES cell lines on genome-wide gene expression and genomic DNA methylation, and differentiation potentials of individual lines, and identify the factors which affected difference in differentiation potential among PSC lines. The final goal of this study is to create data base about gene expression and DNA methylation profile and differentiation potentials of many PSC lines. We believe that this dataset will allow us to predict differentiation potentials of individual PSC lines, and accelerate clinical application of PSC lines in hematology field.


We utilized 39 iPS/ES lines (iPS 35 lines, ES 4 lines) in this study. The iPS cell lines were derived from dermal fibroblast (n = 16), cord blood (n = 3), peripheral blood (n = 10), keratinocyte (n = 3), and dental pulp cell (n = 3), and were generated by retrovirus vector (n = 9), episomal vector (n = 25), and sendai virus vector (n = 1). The iPS cells were derived from 15 donors, and the ES cells were derived from 4 donors. We assessed hematopoietic differentiation potential by investigating hematopoietic differentiation efficiency for the first 15 days from start of differentiation, and colony forming potential of hematopoietic precursor cells (CD34+CD38-CD43+lineage marker- population) generated from PSC lines using semi-solid methylcellulose based-media. In addition, we collected genome-wide mRNA expression and DNA methylation profile of PSC lines, parental lines of iPS cells, hematopoietic precursor cells generated from PSCs by using mRNA microarray, genomic methylation beads array, and next generation sequencers, and analyzed correlation of these data with differentiation potentials of individual PSC lines.


We have found that there is large variation in hematopoietic differentiation efficiency and colony forming ability as reported previously. Genome-wide investigation of gene expression and genomic DNA methylation revealed that expression of some genes or some factors were significantly correlated with hematopoietic differentiation efficiency or colony forming ability of hematopoietic precursor cells. Importantly, the factors affecting differentiation efficiency for first 15 days and those affecting colony-forming ability were absolutely different. More importantly, by combining several factors discovered in this analysis, we can predict hematopoietic differentiation potential of individual iPS/ES cell lines regardless of what parental cell lines iPS cells are derived or whether it is an iPS cell or ES cell.


From genome-wide analysis of gene expression and genomic DNA methylation, and hematopoietic differentiation experiments, we discovered the factors that were associated with difference in differentiation potential among PSC lines. Now, we are focusing on investigating molecular mechanisms by which the discovered factors are responsible for the difference in hematopoietic differentiation potentials among PSC lines. We believe that our findings will contribute not only to clinical application of hematopoietic cells generated from human PSCs, but also to further understanding of human developmental hematopoiesis.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.