Musculoskeletal differentiation of cells derived from human embryonic germ cells

Sook Kim Myoung, Nathaniel S. Hwang, Janice Lee, Tae Kyun Kim, Kam Leong, Michael J. Shamblott, John Gearhart, Jennifer Elisseeff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Stem cells have the potential to significantly improve cell and tissue regeneration therapies, but little is understood about how to control their behavior. We investigated the potential differentiation capability of cells derived from human embryonic germ (EG) cells into musculoskeletal lineages by providing a three-dimensional environment with increased cell-cell contact and growth factors. Cells were clustered into pellets to mimic the mesenchyme condensation process during limb development. LVEC cells, an embryoid body-derived (EBD) cell culture generated from EG cells, were cultured in micromass pellets for 21 days in the presence of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) and/or transforming growth factor beta-3 (TGFβ3). Gene expression for cartilage-, bone-, and muscle-specific matrix proteins - including collagen types I, II, III, IX, X; aggrecan; cartilage proteoglycan link protein; cartilage oligomeric protein; chondroitin sulfate-4-S; and myf5 - was upregulated in the pellets treated with TGFβ3, while mRNAs for neurofilament heavy (NFH), a neuron marker, and flk-1, a hematopoietic marker, decreased. Total collagen and proteoglycan production exhibited a time-dependent increase in the pellets treated with TGFβ3, further confirming the expression of characteristic musculoskeletal markers. Furthermore, our results indicate the ability to select or differentiate stem cells toward a musculoskeletal lineage from a heterogenous EBD cell line.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-123
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cells
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • Differentiation
  • EG cells
  • Embryoid bodies
  • Pluripotent stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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