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Journal Articles Annales de Biologie Clinique Year : 2008

[Biology and potential of human embryonic stem cells]


Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) are obtained from the inner cell mass from the early embryo at blastocyste stage. Derived in cell lines for the first time in 1998, they can be maintained in culture in an undifferentiated state indefinitely under certain conditions. Two essential properties characterize hESC: pluripotency and self-renewal. Pluripotency is convey by the expression of specific transcription factors such as OCT4 and NANOG, and is under the control of growth factors such as IGF2 and FGFb. Markers used to characterize these cells include surface antigens, notably SSEA-3 and SSEA-4, and nuclear markers such as OCT4. HESC can differentiate into different cell types in vitro. They represent a unique and essential model for early human development research and for regenerative medicine. By their self-renewal capacity and their potential to differentiate into several cell types, hESC are an unlimited source of cells enabling to replace or restore lost or damaged cells in numerous diseases. Even if it is not conceivable today to use them in clinical practice for ethic and scientific reasons, it seems essential to explore the numerous potentialities of these cells. This knowledge might be relevant to handle adult stem cells in vitro and will be mandatory for a therapeutic use of hESC in the future.
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inserm-00358937 , version 1 (04-02-2009)



Sylvie Tondeur, Said Assou, Laure Nadal, Samir Hamamah, John de Vos. [Biology and potential of human embryonic stem cells]. Annales de Biologie Clinique, 2008, 66 (3), pp.241-7. ⟨10.1684/abc.2008.0224⟩. ⟨inserm-00358937⟩
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