Methods for expansion of human embryonic stem cells

Stem Cells. 2005 May;23(5):605-9. doi: 10.1634/stemcells.2004-0297.


The manipulation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) requires refined skills. Here we introduce both mechanical and enzymatic transfer methods for hESCs depending on experimental purpose. We use the mechanical transfer method for maintenance of hESC lines. Although the method is laborious and time-consuming, the technique permits efficient transfer of undifferentiated hESCs and results in similar clump sizes. We implement the enzymatic transfer method when we need the bulk production of cells for various experiments. The enzyme-treated expansion rapidly produces greater amounts of hESCs within a limited time frame. However, the cell clumps vary in size, and there is a probability that both the differentiated and undifferentiated cells will be transferred. In cases in which there are differentiated colonies, the combination of two methods allows mass production of hESCs by excluding differentiated colonies from passage by manual selection before enzyme treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Stem Cells / cytology*