Embryonic / Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapy Growth Factors & Cytokines

Human embryonic / pluripotent stem cells are ideal candidates for novel stem cell therapy due to two unique characteristics: 1) they can self-renew indefinitely and 2) they can potentially differentiate into any cell type. Growth Factors (Cytokines) play a central role in maintaining self-renewal in mouse embryonic stem cells through a member of the interleukin-6 type cytokine family termed leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF). LIF activates the JAK-STAT3 pathway through the class I cytokine receptor gp130, which forms a trimeric complex with LIF and the class I cytokine receptor LIF receptor β. The other interleukin 6 (IL-6) family growth factors, which include IL-6, IL-11, oncostatin M (OSM), ciliary neutrophic factor (CNTF), cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1) and cardiotrophin-like cytokine (CLC) have overlapping, pleiotropic effects on a variety of different cell types and activate target genes involved in survival, apoptosis, proliferation and differentiation, as well as suppression of differentiation. In fact, OSM, CNTF and CT-1 can all suppress the differentiation of embryonic / pluripotent stem cells, in contrast to IL-6 or IL-11, since the specific receptors for these cytokines are not expressed on embryonic / pluripotent stem cells. However, if a soluble form of the IL-6 receptor is added to embryonic / pluripotent stem cells along with IL-6, then the cells can be propagated in the undifferentiated state and can in fact be used in de novo generation of embryonic / pluripotent stem cells.
Here we list numerous cytokines & growth factors that can regulate Embryonic / pluripotent stem cells and add some detailed description on the vital growth factors. The related cytokine proteins, antibodies, genes and ELISA kits for research usage are also available here.

Vital Embryonic / pluripotent Stem Cell Therapy Growth Factors & Cytokines


The human interleukin-3 (hIL-3) is a glycoprotein, which served as a key modulation factor of primitive hematopoietic cell proliferation and differentiation. It was also demonstrated that IL-3 enhances human osteoblast differentiation and bone formation in both in vitro and in vivo conditions


Stem cell factor (SCF, also called Steel factor or Kit ligand) is a growth factor that exists both as a membrane-bound and soluble form. It is expressed by fibroblasts and endothelial cells throughout the body, promoting proliferation, migration, survival, and differentiation of hematopoietic progenitors, melanocytes, and germ cells.


IL-6 was originally identified as a T cell-derived factor, which induced the final maturation of B lymphocytes into antibody-forming plasma cells. IL-6 functions neural stem/progenitor cells by binding to the soluble form of IL-6R and then bind directly to the gp130 receptor.


FGF-2 is expressed mostly in tissues of mesoderm and neuroectoderm origin, and is thought to play an important role in the mesoderm induction. In recent years, a number of studies have identified fibroblast growth factors FGF-2 as key regulator of a variety of stem cell types.


LIF is capable of maintaining embryonic stem (ES) cells in a pluripotent state through promoting self-renewal or suppressing stem cell differentiation. It has become a standard protocol to use LIF to maintain murine embryonic stem cell pluripotency, whereas withdrawal of LIF allows embryonic stem cells to undergo cell differentiation

TGF beta

In most cell types, TGF-beta signaling additionally controls the expression of a plethora of homeostatic genes whose activity determines cell proliferation, extracellular matrix production, paracrine factor secretion, cell–cell contacts, immune function, and tissue repair.

Activin A

Using the embryoid body differentiation model of mouse embryonic stem cells, first studies showed that endoderm cells could be induced by treatment with activin A. , In human embryonic stem cells activin A at low concentration is also able to maintain the undifferentiated pluripotent state.


BMP4 belong to the transformation growth factor beta (TGFβ) superfamily. is involved in regulation of cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis of stem cells, including Embryonic Stem (ES) cells, hematopoieti Stem (ES) cells, Mesenchymal Stem (ES) cells and Neural Stem (ES) cells. So BMP4 play an essential role in stem cell therapy.


Bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) is a member of the transforming growth factor beta superfamily implicated by gene ablation studies in several critical processes in early mouse development. BMP-2 plays an essential role not only in embryonic stem cell differentiation, but also in mesenchymal stem cell differentiation and bone formation.

Embryonic / pluripotent Stem Cell Therapy Growth Factors & Cytokines list

Embryonic / pluripotent Stem Cell Therapy Growth Factors & Cytokines Reference

• Kristensen D M, Kalisz M, Nielsen J H. Cytokine signalling in embryonic stem cells[J]. Apmis, 2005, 113(11‐12): 756-772.
• Angelos M G, et al. Pluripotent stem cell applications for regenerative medicine[J]. Current opinion in organ transplantation, 2015, 20(6): 663-670.