Transformation of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) is of interest to scientists who use them as a raw material for cell-processed therapeutic products. However, the WHO and ICH guidelines provide only study design advice and general principles for tumorigenicity tests. In this study, we performed in vivo tumorigenicity tests (teratoma formation) and genome-wide sequencing analysis of undifferentiated hESCs i.e. SEES-1, -2 and -3 cells. We followed up with teratoma formation histopathologically after subcutaneous injection of SEES cells into immunodeficient mice in a qualitative manner and investigated the transforming potential of the teratomas. Maturity of SEES-teratomas perceptibly increased after long-term implantation, while areas of each tissue component remained unchanged. We found neither atypical cells/structures nor cancer in the teratomas even after long-term implantation. The teratomas generated by SEES cells matured histologically over time and did not increase in size. We also analyzed genomic structures and sequences of SEES cells during cultivation by SNP bead arrays and next-generation sequencing, respectively. The nucleotide substitution rate was 3.1 × 10-9, 4.0 × 10-9, and 4.6 × 10-9 per each division in SEES-1, SEES-2, and SEES-3 cells, respectively. Heterozygous single-nucleotide variations were detected, but no significant homologous mutations were found. Taken together, these results imply that SEES-1, -2, and -3 cells do not exhibit in vivo transformation and in vitro genomic instability.
Keywords: Comparative genomic hybridization; Morphometry; Next generation sequencing; Nucleotide substitution rate; Pluripotent stem cell; Single nucleotide mutation.