• Hematopoietic cells;
  • Human embryonic stem cells;
  • Differentiation;
  • Human bone marrow stromal cells


Human embryonic stem (hES) cells randomly differentiate into multiple cell types during embryoid body (EB) development and limited studies have focused on directed hematopoietic differentiation. Here, we report that the treatment of hES cells during EBs development with a combination of low dose hematopoietic cytokines, including stem cell factor (SCF), Flt-3 ligand, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and human bone marrow stromal cells (hBMSCs), generated cell clusters that contained 8.81% KDR-positive hemangioblasts, 9.94% CD34-positive hematopoietic stem cells and 25.7% CD45-positive mature hematopoietic cells, and expressed hematopoietic genes such as KDR, stem cell leukemia (scl) and runt-related transcription factor 1 (Runx1). We provide the first evidence for the role of the cytokine—hBMSCs combination in promoting hematopoietic differentiation of hES cells, and thus provide the potential for generation of hematopoietic cells, as well as for understanding early developmental events that govern the initiation of hematopoiesis in humans.