How do scientists achieve stem cells differentiation?
Stem cells are extraordinary cells, capable of both self-renewal and differentiation to mature somatic cells in vivo and in vitro and they have many features and advantages which could revolutionize drug development and healthcare applications.
The differentiation of stem cell is a very critic step in many stem cell research projects. However, the process of differentiation is time-consuming and complicated and requires expertise and experience. Creative Bioarray has specially established a team of cell experts to provide high quality stem cell differentiation service to facilitate its clients’ stem cell research.
And how do they differentiate stem cells in a dish?
To recreate embryonic development in a dish, scientists unusually will expose stem cells to chemical or physical signals that cause cellular differentiation.
Those chemical or physical signals include:
Growth Factors: signaling molecules can cause cellular differentiation and scientist can add them to stem cell culture medium to help stem cells transform into specialized cell types.
Cell Culture Substrate: to culture stem cells on top of extracellular matrix proteins (proteins secreted by cells into the extracellular space) can also cause differentiation.
Co-culture Environments: since cells can produce signaling molecules that neighboring cells can respond to, scientist can culture stem cells and other cells together. The growth factor produced by other cell can cause differentiation.
Three-dimensional Culture: scientist can also culture stem cells in three-dimensional aggregates called embryoid bodies. Embryoid bodies recreate an early developmental process called gastrulation, a process that establishes the three primary germ layers.
Signal Inhibition: signals that cause the differentiation of stem cells to other unwanted cell types can be inhibited by using inhibitory growth factors.
In order to make sure the stem cells have differentiated into a specialized cell type we wanted, the scientific proof of differentiated cells is needed.
- Judge by appearance
The unique combination of genes that are on and off determines the characteristics of a unique cell type. Scientists can use a number of laboratory techniques to determine which genes are turned on or off in a cell.
- Judge by behaviour
Specialized cells perform specialized functions within the body. In the laboratory, a number of experiments can be performed to test whether a differentiated cell can perform the function of a specialized cell.
- Judge by safety
If specialized cells generated from stem cells are to be used to treat human disease, they must be fully differentiated, that is, they must have lost their ability to generate any other cell type. Scientists can simply test it this by doing a research on mice.