Derivation of Endodermal Progenitors From Pluripotent Stem Cells

J Cell Physiol. 2015 Feb;230(2):246-58. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24771.


Stem and progenitor cells play important roles in organogenesis during development and in tissue homeostasis and response to injury postnatally. As the regenerative capacity of many human tissues is limited, cell replacement therapies hold great promise for human disease management. Pluripotent stem cells such as embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are prime candidates for the derivation of unlimited quantities of clinically relevant cell types through development of directed differentiation protocols, that is, the recapitulation of developmental milestones in in vitro cell culture. Tissue-specific progenitors, including progenitors of endodermal origin, are important intermediates in such protocols since they give rise to all mature parenchymal cells. In this review, we focus on the in vivo biology of embryonic endodermal progenitors in terms of key transcription factors and signaling pathways. We critically review the emerging literature aiming to apply this basic knowledge to achieve the efficient and reproducible in vitro derivation of endodermal progenitors such as pancreas, liver and lung precursor cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Regenerative Medicine*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*