SAHA Enhances Differentiation of CD34+CD45+ Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells from Pluripotent Stem Cells Concomitant with an Increase in Hemogenic Endothelium

Stem Cells Transl Med. 2022 May 27;11(5):513-526. doi: 10.1093/stcltm/szac012.


Epigenetic modification is an important process during hematopoietic cell differentiation. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have previously been shown to enhance expansion of umbilical cord blood-derived hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). However, the effect of HDAC inhibitors on pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) in this context is less understood. For years, investigators have considered PSC-derived natural killer (NK) and T-cell therapies. These "off-the-shelf" cellular therapies are now entering the clinic. However, the in vitro commitment of PSCs to the hematopoietic lineage is inefficient and represents a major bottleneck. We investigated whether HDAC inhibitors (HDACi) influence human PSC differentiation into CD34+CD45+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), focusing on hemogenic endothelium (HE). Pluripotent stem cells cultured in the presence of HDACi showed a 2-5 times increase in HSPCs. Concurrent with this, HDACi-treated PSCs increased expression of 7 transcription factors (HOXA5, HOXA9, HOXA10, RUNX1, ERG, SPI1, and LCOR) recently shown to convert HE to HSPCs. ChIP-qPCR showed that SAHA upregulated acetylated-H3 at the promoter region of the above key genes. SAHA-treated human PSC-derived CD34+CD45+ cells showed primary engraftment in immunodeficient mice, but not serial transplantation. We further demonstrate that SAHA-derived HSPCs could differentiate into functional NK cells in vitro. The addition of SAHA is an easy and effective approach to overcoming the bottleneck in the transition from PSC to HSPCs for "off-the-shelf" cellular immunotherapy.

Keywords: CD34+CD45+; HDAC inhibitor; HSPC; hematopoietic progenitors; hemogenic endothelium; stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD34 / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Hemangioblasts* / metabolism
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells*


  • Antigens, CD34
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors