Human Embryonic Stem Cells for Disease Studies

There is a great deal of interest in the potential uses of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) for therapeutic purposes, such as transplantation. These cells can also be used as models to study how human nerve cells develop or how diseases progress.

In Parkinson's disease for example, a way to study human dopaminergic neurons is potentially of great value. Human ESCs can be transformed into such neurons, but there are considerable technical difficulties in the creation and maintenance of many lines of hESCs.

In a paper published in the current issue of Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, researchers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Aging, and BresaGen, Inc. found that a variant line of hESC could be used, avoiding some of these problems in normal hESC lines. The authors report that BG01V, a variant of the hESC line BG01 with extra chromosomes 12, 17 and X, may serve as a potential model for studies of dopaminergic neuronal differentiation of hESCs.

The research suggests that this line is an ideal substitute for routine experiments on hESC properties and differentiation. Writing in the article, Xianmin Zeng, PhD, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, states, "BG01V is stable, and is currently available worldwide to researchers at a cost-effective rate. Its growth characteristics and recovery from cryopreservation are better than the parent line BG01.

The overall properties of BG01V are, nonetheless, very similar to the parent line. We therefore believe that the BG01V line will be an invaluable resource for basic research on hESCs.”

MEDICA.de; Source: IOS Press