Molecular bioSystems

The action of all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) and synthetic retinoid analogues (EC19 and EC23) on human pluripotent stem cells differentiation investigated using single cell infrared microspectroscopy.

PMID 23364809


All trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) is widely used to direct the differentiation of cultured stem cells. When exposed to the pluripotent human embryonal carcinoma (EC) stem cell line,, ATRA induces ectoderm differentiation and the formation of neuronal cell types. We have previously generated synthetic analogues of retinoic acid (EC23 and EC19) which also induce the differentiation of EC cells. Even though EC23 and EC19 have similar chemical structures, they have differing biochemical effects in terms of EC cell differentiation. EC23 induces neuronal differentiation in a manner similar to ATRA, whereas EC19 directs the cells to form epithelial-like derivatives. Previous MALDI-TOF MS analysis examined the response of cells after exposure to ATRA, EC23 and EC19 and further demonstrated the similarly in the effect of ATRA and EC23 activity whilst responses to EC19 were very different. In this study, we show that Fourier Transform Infrared Micro-Spectroscopy (FT-IRMS) coupled with appropriate scatter correction and multivariate analysis can be used as an effective tool to further investigate the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells and monitor the alternative affects different retinoid compounds have on the induction of differentiation. FT-IRMS detected differences between cell populations as early as 3 days of compound treatment. Populations of cells treated with different retinoid compounds could easily be distinguished from one another during the early stages of cell differentiation. These data demonstrate that FT-IRMS technology can be used as a sensitive screening technique to monitor the status of the stem cell phenotype and progression of differentiation along alternative pathways in response to different compounds.

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EC23, ≥98% (HPLC)