• human embryonic stem cells;
  • mouse embryonic feeders;
  • characterization;
  • differentiation

Abstract Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are an exceptionally useful tool for studies of human development and represent a potential source for transplantation therapies. At present, only a limited number of hESCs lines representing a very small sample of genetic diversity of the human populations are available. Here, we report the derivation and characterization of a new hESC line, ReliCell® hES1. These cells, established from the inner cell mass (ICM) on mouse embryonic feeder (MEF) layer, satisfy the criteria that characterize pluripotent hESCs: The cell line expresses high levels of cell surface markers (such as SSEA-3, SSAEA-4, TRA-1-60 and TRA-1-81), transcription factor Oct-4, alkaline phosphatase (AP) and telomerase. The cell line retains normal karyotype in long-term culture and has a distinct identity as revealed by DNA fingerprinting by short tandem repeat (STR) analysis. Further, upon examination of the in vitro differentiation potential, ReliCell®hES1 was found to be capable of giving rise to dopaminergic neurons, cardiomyocytes, pancreatic islets, and hepatocyte-like cells belonging to ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm lineages, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a well-characterized hES cell line from the Indian subcontinent.