Composition of iPSC-derived lymphocyte populations. Lymphocytes from the spleen and lymph nodes were harvested and analyzed by flow cytometry (FCM). Populations of B cells (A), NK cells (B), CD4+ and CD8+ T cells (C), and Tregs (D) were compared in iPSm, ESm, and C57BL/6 groups; n = 10 animals per group, *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01. NK, natural killer; Tregs, regulatory T cells. [Stem Cells and Development]


Researchers from the Medical College of Xiamen University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences report that induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have the potential to differentiate into multiple lineages of functional lymphocytes, including CD4+ T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells, without bias. The team says that the ability to generate truly functional lymphocytes from somatic cell–derived hematopoietic stem cells supports the clinical application of iPSC technology to develop treatments for hematological disorders.

The scientists published their study (“Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Can Effectively Differentiate into Multiple Functional Lymphocyte Lineages In Vivo with Negligible Bias”) in Stem Cells and Development, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, publishers.

Tainshu Lan and her colleagues provided a normal environment in which to compare the growth and differentiation capacity of hematopoietic cells derived from iPSCs and from embryonic stem cells (ESCs). The results showed that lymphocytes generated from iPSCs had the same capacity to proliferate and secrete chemical signals, such as cytokines, as did those from ESCs when stimulated. The researchers also noted that lymphocytes generated by iPSC-derived bone marrow cells could repopulate the hematopoietic systems of lethally irradiated recipient animals.

“This sort of side-by-side characterization and demonstration of the differential potential of iPSC and ESC is an absolute necessity to elevate what we do in stem cell research from conjecture and assumption to rigorous applicability and then clinical translation,” said the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Graham C. Parker, Ph.D., The Carman and Ann Adams Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University School of Medicine.

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