Domestic cats suffer from a range of inherited genetic diseases, many of which display similarities with equivalent human conditions. Developing cellular models for these inherited diseases would enable drug discovery, benefiting feline health and welfare as well as enhancing the potential of cats as relevant animal models for translation to human medicine. Advances in our understanding of these diseases at the cellular level have come from the use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). iPSCs can differentiate into virtually any cell type and can be derived from adult somatic cells, therefore overcoming the ethical implications of destroying embryos to obtain embryonic stem cells. No studies, however, report the generation of iPSCs from domestic cats [feline iPSCs (fiPSCs)]. Feline adipose-derived fibroblasts were infected with amphotropic retrovirus containing the coding sequences for human Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, cMyc, and Nanog. Isolated iPSC clones were expanded on inactivated mouse embryonic fibroblasts in the presence of feline leukemia inhibitory factor (fLIF). Retroviral delivery of human pluripotent genes gave rise to putative fiPSC colonies within 5-7 days. These iPS-like cells required fetal bovine serum and fLIF for maintenance. Colonies were domed with refractile edges, similar to mouse iPSCs. Immunocytochemistry demonstrated positive staining for stem cell markers: alkaline phosphatase, Oct4, Sox2, Nanog, and SSEA1. Cells were negative for SSEA4. Expression of endogenous feline Nanog was confirmed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The cells were able to differentiate in vitro into cells representative of the three germ layers. These results confirm the first generation of induced pluripotent stem cells from domestic cats. These cells will provide valuable models to study genetic diseases and explore novel therapeutic strategies.
Keywords: characterization; feline; induced pluripotent stem cells.