Microscopy and Microanalysis

Stem Cell Special Section

Pluripotent Stem Cells and Reprogrammed Cells in Farm Animals

Monika Nowak-Imialeka1, Wilfried Kuesa1, Joseph W. Carnwatha1 and Heiner Niemanna1 c1

a1 Institute of Farm Animal Genetics (FLI), Biotechnology, Mariensee, 31535 Neustadt, Germany


Pluripotent cells are unique because of their ability to differentiate into the cell lineages forming the entire organism. True pluripotent stem cells with germ line contribution have been reported for mice and rats. Human pluripotent cells share numerous features of pluripotentiality, but confirmation of their in vivo capacity for germ line contribution is impossible due to ethical and legal restrictions. Progress toward derivation of embryonic stem cells from domestic species has been made, but the derived cells were not able to produce germ line chimeras and thus are termed embryonic stem-like cells. However, domestic animals, in particular the domestic pig (Sus scrofa), are excellent large animals models, in which the clinical potential of stem cell therapies can be studied. Reprogramming technologies for somatic cells, including somatic cell nuclear transfer, cell fusion, in vitro culture in the presence of cell extracts, in vitro conversion of adult unipotent spermatogonial stem cells into germ line derived pluripotent stem cells, and transduction with reprogramming factors have been developed with the goal of obtaining pluripotent, germ line competent stem cells from domestic animals. This review summarizes the present state of the art in the derivation and maintenance of pluripotent stem cells in domestic animals.

(Received November 09 2010)

(Accepted January 04 2011)

(Online publication June 20 2011)


c1 Corresponding author. E-mail: heiner.niemann@fli.bund.de