Published online Aug 26, 2020. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v12.i8.752
Peer-review started: March 28, 2020
First decision: April 22, 2020
Revised: April 30, 2020
Accepted: July 1, 2020
Article in press: July 1, 2020
Published online: August 26, 2020
Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) have the distinct advantage of being able to differentiate into cells of all three germ layers. Target cells or tissues derived from hPSCs have many uses such as drug screening, disease modeling, and transplantation therapy. There are currently a wide variety of differentiation methods available. However, most of the existing differentiation methods are unreliable, with uneven differentiation efficiency and poor reproducibility. At the same time, it is difficult to choose the optimal method when faced with so many differentiation schemes, and it is time-consuming and costly to explore a new differentiation approach. Thus, it is critical to design a robust and efficient method of differentiation. In this review article, we summarize a comprehensive approach in which hPSCs are differentiated into target cells or organoids including brain, liver, blood, melanocytes, and mesenchymal cells. This was accomplished by employing an embryoid body-based three-dimensional (3D) suspension culture system with multiple cells co-cultured. The method has high stable differentiation efficiency compared to the conventional 2D culture and can meet the requirements of clinical application. Additionally, ex vivo co-culture models might be able to constitute organoids that are highly similar or mimic human organs for potential organ transplantation in the future.
Core tip: Identifying a practical way to efficiently differentiate pluripotent stem cells is essential in regenerative medicine. After considering the advantages and limitations of current approaches, we summarize the ideal conditions and systems. We also provide potential choices for efficiently and robustly differentiating human pluripotent stem cells into target cells and tissues in different germ layers.