Establishment of immortalized human erythroid progenitor cell lines able to produce enucleated red blood cells

PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e59890. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059890. Epub 2013 Mar 22.


Transfusion of red blood cells (RBCs) is a standard and indispensable therapy in current clinical practice. In vitro production of RBCs offers a potential means to overcome a shortage of transfusable RBCs in some clinical situations and also to provide a source of cells free from possible infection or contamination by microorganisms. Thus, in vitro production of RBCs may become a standard procedure in the future. We previously reported the successful establishment of immortalized mouse erythroid progenitor cell lines that were able to produce mature RBCs very efficiently. Here, we have developed a reliable protocol for establishing immortalized human erythroid progenitor cell lines that are able to produce enucleated RBCs. These immortalized cell lines produce functional hemoglobin and express erythroid-specific markers, and these markers are upregulated following induction of differentiation in vitro. Most importantly, these immortalized cell lines all produce enucleated RBCs after induction of differentiation in vitro, although the efficiency of producing enucleated RBCs remains to be improved further. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of the feasibility of using immortalized human erythroid progenitor cell lines as an ex vivo source for production of enucleated RBCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus*
  • Erythrocyte Transfusion / methods
  • Erythrocytes / cytology*
  • Erythroid Precursor Cells / cytology*
  • Erythropoiesis / physiology*
  • Humans

Grant support

This work was supported by the project for realization of regenerative medicine in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology in Japan (MEXT) and other grants from the MEXT. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.