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Open Access Methodology article

Production of erythriod cells from human embryonic stem cells by fetal liver cell extract treatment

Yu-xiao Liu12, Wen Yue1, Lei Ji1, Xue Nan1 and Xue-tao Pei1*

Author Affiliations

1 Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Lab, Beijing Institution of Transfusion Medicine, Beijing 100850, China

2 Department of Neurosurgery, the First Affiliated Hospital of PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100037, China

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BMC Developmental Biology 2010, 10:85  doi:10.1186/1471-213X-10-85

Published: 10 August 2010



We recently developed a new method to induce human stem cells (hESCs) differentiation into hematopoietic progenitors by cell extract treatment. Here, we report an efficient strategy to generate erythroid progenitors from hESCs using cell extract from human fetal liver tissue (hFLT) with cytokines. Human embryoid bodies (hEBs) obtained of human H1 hESCs were treated with cell extract from hFLT and co-cultured with human fetal liver stromal cells (hFLSCs) feeder to induce hematopoietic cells. After the 11 days of treatment, hEBs were isolated and transplanted into liquid medium with hematopoietic cytokines for erythroid differentiation. Characteristics of the erythroid cells were analyzed by flow cytometry, Wright-Giemsa staining, real-time RT-PCR and related functional assays.


The erythroid cells produced from hEBs could differentiate into enucleated cells and expressed globins in a time-dependent manner. They expressed not only embryonic globins but also the adult-globin with the maturation of the erythroid cells. In addition, our data showed that the hEBs-derived erythroid cells were able to act as oxygen carriers, indicating that hESCs could generate functional mature erythroid cells.


Cell extract exposure with the addition of cytokines resulted in robust erythroid -like differentiation of hEBs and these hEBs-derived erythroid cells possessed functions similar to mature red blood cells.