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Stem Cells International
Volume 2011, Article ID 735420, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/735420
Review Article

In Vitro Differentiation and Maturation of Human Embryonic Stem Cell into Multipotent Cells

1Stem Cell Unit, Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh 11472, Saudi Arabia
2Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory (KMEB), Medical Biotechnology Centre and Department of Endocrinology, University Hospital of Odense, University of South Denmark, 5000 Odense C, Denmark
3College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh 11472, Saudi Arabia
4Department of General Pathology, Division of Clinical Pathology and Excellence Research Center on Cardiovascular Diseases, First School of Medicine, University of Naples Federico II, 80138 Naples, Italy

Received 5 December 2010; Accepted 19 May 2011

Academic Editor: Randall J. Lee

Copyright © 2011 Amer Mahmood 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.

Abstract

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), which have the potential to generate virtually any differentiated progeny, are an attractive cell source for transplantation therapy, regenerative medicine, and tissue engineering. To realize this potential, it is essential to be able to control ESC differentiation and to direct the development of these cells along specific pathways. Basic science in the field of embryonic development, stem cell differentiation, and tissue engineering has offered important insights into key pathways and scaffolds that regulate hESC differentiation, which have produced advances in modeling gastrulation in culture and in the efficient induction of endoderm, mesoderm, ectoderm, and many of their downstream derivatives. These findings have lead to identification of several pathways controlling the differentiation of hESCs into mesodermal derivatives such as myoblasts, mesenchymal cells, osteoblasts, chondrocytes, adipocytes, as well as hemangioblastic derivatives. The next challenge will be to demonstrate the functional utility of these cells, both in vitro and in preclinical models of bone and vascular diseases.