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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 807863, 12 pages
Research Article

In Vitro Large Scale Production of Human Mature Red Blood Cells from Hematopoietic Stem Cells by Coculturing with Human Fetal Liver Stromal Cells

Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Lab, Beijing Institute of Transfusion Medicine, 27 Taiping Road, Beijing 100850, China

Received 28 September 2012; Accepted 2 December 2012

Academic Editor: Xuan Jin

Copyright © 2013 Jiafei Xi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In vitro models of human erythropoiesis are useful in studying the mechanisms of erythroid differentiation in normal and pathological conditions. Here we describe an erythroid liquid culture system starting from cord blood derived hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). HSCs were cultured for more than 50 days in erythroid differentiation conditions and resulted in a more than 109-fold expansion within 50 days under optimal conditions. Homogeneous erythroid cells were characterized by cell morphology, flow cytometry, and hematopoietic colony assays. Furthermore, terminal erythroid maturation was improved by cosculturing with human fetal liver stromal cells. Cocultured erythroid cells underwent multiple maturation events, including decrease in size, increase in glycophorin A expression, and nuclear condensation. This process resulted in extrusion of the pycnotic nuclei in up to 80% of the cells. Importantly, they possessed the capacity to express the adult definitive β-globin chain upon further maturation. We also show that the oxygen equilibrium curves of the cord blood-differentiated red blood cells (RBCs) are comparable to normal RBCs. The large number and purity of erythroid cells and RBCs produced from cord blood make this method useful for fundamental research in erythroid development, and they also provide a basis for future production of available RBCs for transfusion.