• Human embryonic stem cells;
  • Self-renewal;
  • Feeder;
  • Proliferative


Long-term proliferation of human embryonic stem (hES) cells is currently achieved by co-culturing with mitotically inactive primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts (mEFs), which serve as feeder cells. This study explores the possibility that proliferative mEFs can be used as feeder cells to maintain the prolonged expansion of hES cells. All undifferentiated hES cell clumps were re-plated on six different densities of proliferative mEFs. hES colonies cultured on 1 × 105–5 × 105 proliferative mEFs amplified over 130 days of continuous culture and remained undifferentiated, as did those cultured on mitotically inactive mEFs. This suggests that certain densities of proliferative mEFs can maintain the propagation of hES cells, which may be helpful for identifying the cytokines and adhesion molecules that are required for their self-renewal.