JOURNAL ARTICLE

Isolation and characterization of embryonic stem cell-like cells from in vitro-produced buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) embryos

V Verma, S K Gautam, B Singh, R S Manik, P Palta, S K Singla, S L Goswami, M S Chauhan
Molecular Reproduction and Development 2007, 74 (4): 520-9
17034054
This study was carried out to isolate and characterize buffalo embryonic stem (ES) cell-like cells from in vitro-produced embryos. Inner cell mass (ICM) cells were isolated either mechanically or by enzymatic digestion from 120 blastocysts whereas 28 morulae were used for the isolation of blastomeres mechanically. The ICM cells/ blastomeres were cultured on mitomycin-C-treated feeder layer. Primary cell colony formation was higher (P < 0.05) for hatched blastocysts (73.1%, 30/41) than that for early/expanded blastocysts (25.3%, 20/79). However, no primary cell colonies were formed when blastomeres obtained from morulae were cultured. Primary colonies were formed in 14.1% (12/85) of intact blastocyst culture, which was significantly lower (P < 0.05) than that of 41.6% for ICM culture. These colonies were separated by enzymatic or mechanical disaggregation. Using mechanical disaggregation method, the cells remained undifferentiated and two buffalo ES cell-like cell lines (bES1, bES2) continued to grow in culture up to eight passages. However, disassociation through enzymatic method resulted in differentiation. Undifferentiated cells exhibited stem cell morphological features, normal chromosomal morphology, and expressed specific markers such as alkaline phosphatase (AP) and Oct-4. Cells formed embryoid bodies (EBs) in suspension culture; extended culture of EBs resulted in formation of cystic EBs. Following prolonged in vitro culture, these cells differentiated into several types of cells including neuron-like and epithelium-like cells. Furthermore, the vitrified-thawed ES cell-like cells also exhibited typical stem cell characteristics. In conclusion, buffalo ES cell-like cells could be isolated from in vitro-produced blastocysts and maintained in vitro for prolonged periods of time.

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