Human parthenogenetic embryos have recently been proposed as an alternative, less controversial source of embryonic stem cell (ESC) lines; however many aspects related to the biology of parthenogenetic embryos and parthenogenetic derived cell lines still need to be elucidated. We present here results on human cell lines (HP1 and HP3) derived from blastocysts obtained by oocyte parthenogenetic activation. Cell lines showed typical ESC morphology, expressed Oct-4, Nanog, Sox-2, Rex-1, alkaline phosphatase, SSEA-4, TRA 1-81 and had high telomerase activity. Expression of genes specific for different embryonic germ layers was detected from HP cells differentiated upon embryoid body (EBs) formation. Furthermore, when cultured in appropriate conditions, HP cell lines were able to differentiate into mature cell types of the neural and hematopoietic lineages. However, the injection of undifferentiated HP cells in immunodeficient mice resulted either in poor differentiation or in tumour formation with the morphological characteristics of myofibrosarcomas. Further analysis of HP cells indicated aberrant levels of molecules related to spindle formation as well as the presence of an abnormal number of centrioles and autophagic activity. Our results confirm and extend the notion that human parthenogenetic stem cells can be derived and can differentiate in mature cell types, but also highlight the possibility that, alteration of the proliferation mechanisms may occur in these cells, suggesting great caution if a therapeutic use of this kind of stem cells is considered.
- Mitotic check-point transcripts
- Parthenogenetic cell lines