Porcine embryonic stem cells (pESCs) have become an advantageous experimental tool for developing therapeutic applications and producing transgenic animals. However, despite numerous reports of putative pESC lines, deriving validated pESC lines from embryos produced in vitro remains difficult. Here, we report that embryo aggregation was useful for deriving pESCs from in vitro-produced embryos. Blastocysts derived from embryo aggregation formed a larger number of colonies and maintained cell culture stability. Our derived cell lines demonstrated expression of pluripotent markers (alkaline phosphatase, Oct4, Sox2, and Nanog), an ability to form embryoid bodies, and the capacity to differentiate into the three germ layers. A cytogenetic analysis of these cells revealed that all lines derived from aggregated blastocysts had normal female and male karyotypes. These results demonstrate that embryo aggregation could be a useful technique to improve the efficiency of deriving ESCs from in vitro-fertilized pig embryos, studying early development, and deriving pluripotent ESCs in vitro in other mammals.
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