Manufacturing of blood cells from stem cells is very hot topic right now. In particular, researchers are exciting about the possibility of making clinical-grade red blood cells and platelets. Unfortunately we are still lacking freely available protocols online. Today I’d like to share a recent protocol for generation of platelets from human embryonic stem cells.
In this study, we report that it is feasible to generate functional megakaryocytes and platelets from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) on a large scale. Differential-interference contrast and electron microscopy analyses showed that ultrastructural and morphological features of hESC-derived platelets were indistinguishable from those of normal blood platelets. In functional assays, hESC-derived platelets responded to thrombin stimulation, formed microaggregates, and facilitated clot formation/retraction in vitro.
Using real-time intravital imaging with high-speed video microscopy, we have also shown that hESC-derived platelets contribute to developing thrombi at sites of laser-induced vascular injury in mice, providing the first evidence for in vivo functionality of hESC-derived platelets. These results represent an important step toward generating an unlimited supply of platelets for transfusion. Since platelets contain no genetic material, they are ideal candidates for early clinical translation involving human pluripotent stem cells.