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Pluripotent Stem Cells Generated from Human Skin

Third laboratory to produce stem cells without using embryos

FRIDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists at UCLA have successfully created induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from human skin cells, confirming the work of two laboratories in Japan and Wisconsin who first reported generation of iPS cells in November 2007, according to an article published online Feb. 15 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

William E. Lowry, Ph.D., of the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues generated iPS cells by using a retroviral vector to transfect human dermal fibroblasts obtained from a neonatal foreskin with the transcription factors Klf4, Oct4, Sox2 and C-Myc. The researchers then compared the morphologic and functional properties of the iPS cell lines to established embryonic stem cell lines.

The generated iPS cell lines were structurally identical to embryonic stem cells, and had nearly the same gene-expression profiles. The iPS cells could also be coaxed to differentiate into the three embryonic germ layers, indicating their pluripotent capacity.

"Although our work was completed, two laboratories published elegant work in agreement with our study, demonstrating that human somatic cell reprogramming by overexpression of defined factors is a feasible method to induce pluripotency," the authors write. "In the future, the use of defined factors to change cell fate may be the key to routine nuclear reprogramming of human somatic cells."

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