Efficient generation of megakaryocytes from human induced pluripotent stem cells using food and drug administration-approved pharmacological reagents

Yanfeng Liu, Ying Wang, Ying Wang, Ying Wang, Yongxing Gao, Yongxing Gao, Jessica A. Forbes, Rehan Qayyum, Lewis Becker, Linzhao Cheng, Linzhao Cheng, Zack Z. Wang, Zack Z. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Megakaryocytes (MKs) are rare hematopoietic cells in the adult bone marrow and produce platelets that are critical to vascular hemostasis and wound healing. Ex vivo generation of MKs from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) provides a renewable cell source of platelets for treating thrombocytopenic patients and allows a better understanding of MK/platelet biology. The key requirements in this approach include developing a robust and consistent method to produce functional progeny cells, such as MKs from hiPSCs, and minimizing the risk and variation from the animalderived products in cell cultures. In this study, we developed an efficient system to generate MKs from hiPSCs under a feeder-free and xeno-free condition, in which all animal-derived products were eliminated. Several crucial reagents were evaluated and replaced with Food and Drug Administrationapproved pharmacological reagents, including romiplostim (Nplate, a thrombopoietin analog), oprelvekin (recombinant interleukin-11), and Plasbumin (human albumin).Weused this method to induce MK generation from hiPSCs derived from 23 individuals in two steps: generation of CD34+CD45+ hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) for 14 days; and generation and expansion of CD41+CD42a+ MKs from HPCs for an additional 5 days. After 19 days, we observed abundant CD41+CD42a+ MKs that also expressed theMKmarkers CD42b and CD61 and displayed polyploidy (‡16% of derived cells withDNA contents >4N). Transcriptome analysis by RNA sequencing revealed that megakaryocytic-related genes were highly expressed. Additional maturation and investigation of hiPSC-derived MKs should provide insights into MK biology and lead to the generation of large numbers of platelets ex vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-319
Number of pages11
JournalStem cells translational medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • Human induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Megakaryocytes
  • Plasbumin
  • Romiplostim
  • Thrombopoietin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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