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Stem Cells International
Volume 2015, Article ID 794632, 11 pages
Review Article

Reprogramming with Small Molecules instead of Exogenous Transcription Factors

1Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, The Second Affiliated Hospital (Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine), 55 Neihuan W. Road, Higher Education Mega Center, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510006, China
2Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Stem Cell Research Center, 15 Shangxiadian Road, Cangshan District, Fuzhou, Fujian 350002, China

Received 29 November 2014; Revised 3 March 2015; Accepted 9 March 2015

Academic Editor: Amanda C. LaRue

Copyright © 2015 Tongxiang Lin and Shouhai Wu. 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.


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) could be employed in the creation of patient-specific stem cells, which could subsequently be used in various basic and clinical applications. However, current iPSC methodologies present significant hidden risks with respect to genetic mutations and abnormal expression which are a barrier in realizing the full potential of iPSCs. A chemical approach is thought to be a promising strategy for safety and efficiency of iPSC generation. Many small molecules have been identified that can be used in place of exogenous transcription factors and significantly improve iPSC reprogramming efficiency and quality. Recent studies have shown that the use of small molecules results in the generation of chemically induced pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryonic fibroblast cells. These studies might lead to new areas of stem cell research and medical applications, not only human iPSC by chemicals alone, but also safe generation of somatic stem cells for cell based clinical trials and other researches. In this paper, we have reviewed the recent advances in small molecule approaches for the generation of iPSCs.