Do pluripotent stem cells exist in adult mice as very small embryonic stem cells?

Masanori Miyanishi, Yasuo Mori, Jun Seita, James Y. Chen, Seth Karten, Charles K.F. Chan, Hiromitsu Nakauchi, Irving L. Weissman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs) isolated from bone marrow (BM) have been reported to be pluripotent. Given their nonembryonic source, they could replace blastocyst-derived embryonic stem cells in research and medicine. However, their multiple-germ-layer potential has been incompletely studied. Here, we show that we cannot find VSELs in mouse BM with any of the reported stem cell potentials, specifically for hematopoiesis. We found that: (1) most events within the "VSEL" flow-cytometry gate had little DNA and the cells corresponding to these events (2) could not form spheres, (3) did not express Oct4, and (4) could not differentiate into blood cells. These results provide a failure to confirm the existence of pluripotent VSELs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-208
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cell Reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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