Background: Human embryonic stem (hES) cell lines were derived from the inner cell mass of human blastocysts, and were cultured on mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) feeder to maintain undifferentiated growth, extensive renewal capacity, and pluripotency. The hES-T3 cell line with normal female karyotype was previously used to differentiate into autogeneic fibroblast-like cells (T3HDF) as feeder to support the undifferentiated growth of hES-T3 cells (T3/HDF) for 14 passages.Results: A feeder-free culture on Matrigel in hES medium conditioned by the autogeneic feeder cells (T3HDF) was established to maintain the undifferentiated growth of hES-T3 cells (T3/CMHDF) for 8 passages in this investigation. The gene expression profiles of mRNAs, microRNAs and proteins between the undifferentiated T3/HDF and T3/CMHDF cells were shown to be very similar, and their expression profiles were also found to be similar to those of T3/MEF and T3/CMMEF cells grown on MEF feeder and feeder-free Matrigel in MEF-conditioned medium, respectively. The undifferentiated state of T3/HDF and T3/CMHDF as well as T3/MEF andT3/CMMEF cells was evidenced by the very high expression levels of "stemness" genes and low expression levels of differentiation markers of ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm in addition to the strong staining of OCT4 and NANOG.Conclusion: The T3HDF feeder and T3HDF-conditioned medium were able to support the undifferentiated growth of hES cells, and they would be useful for drug development and toxicity testing in addition to the reduced risks of xenogeneic pathogens when used for medical applications such as cell therapies.
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