Growth Factors in Stem Cell Biology

Stem cell biology researchers use suitable growth factors to trigger proliferation, differentiation and/or migration of stem cells. Embryonic pluripotent stem cells can differentiate into three germ layers (endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm) and unlimited capacity for self-renewal3. The ethical issues around the use of embryonic stem cells led to the introduction of induced pluripotent stem cells or iPSCs. In the presence of growth factors, iPSCs differentiate into majority of the progenitor cells required for development (Table 1). Therefore, the role of growth factors in differentiation of iPSCs provides an avenue for creating an unlimited supply of embryonic-like stem cells (Figure 1).

Stem cell differentiation

Figure 1. iPSCs differentiate into majority of the progenitor cells required for development in the presence of Growth Factors


Product No Name Expressed in Function More
SRP6153 Activin A human Human cells Mesodermal induction; neural cell differentiation Activins
A1729 Activin B human CHO
SRP6156 BMP-4 human HEK 293 Bone formation; induction of ventral mesoderm BMPs
E9644, E5036 EGF human E. coli Generation of neural progenitors EGFs
SRP6253 EGF human HEK 293
F5542 FGF-1 human E. coli Embryonic development; angiogenesis FGFs
F0219, HBFGF-RO FGF-2 human E. coli
SRP6160 FGF-4 human Human cells
SRP6161 FGF-7 human E. coli
F8924 FGF-10 human E. coli
H9661 HGF human NSO Generation of liver progenitors HGF
SRP6014 HGF human CHO
SRP6166 HGF human HEK 293
SRP6171 IL-3 human HEK 293 Generation of liver, cardiac, hematopoietic progenitors Interleukins
H7416, SCU0001 IL-6 human HEK 293
SRP3072 IL-11 human E. coli
N17001 Noggin human HEK 293 Generation of pancreas progenitors Noggins
SRP6296 PDGF human HEK 293 Generation of mesenchymal progenitors PDGFs
H8416 SCF human HEK 293 Generation of hematopoietic progenitors SCFs
T7039, 11412272001 TGF-b1 human CHO Maintenance and differentiation of embryonic stem cells and somatic stem cells TGFs
V7259, SRP3182 VEGF human E. coli Generation of cardiac and hematopoietic progenitors VEGFs
SRP4754 Wnt-1 human E. coli Tissue homeostasis, tissue patterning and cell fate Wnts
SRP6560 Wnt-2 human E. coli
GF154 Wnt-3a mouse E. coli
GF146 Wnt-5a mouse E. coli
SRP3296 Wnt-7a human HEK 293

Table 1. Growth Factors for stem cell research

The fate of pluripotent stem cell is Stem cell research is controlled by physical and biochemical cues that direct them to become the specialized cells that make up the tissues in the body. Stem cell research is enhancing our understanding of how growth factors (biochemical cues) affect stem cell expansion and differentiation. This will enable subsequent use of stem cells in cell-based therapies, drug development, and disease modeling.

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Neural stem cell differentiation

Figure 2: This image shows cells derived from the culture of neural stem cells grown in the presence of EGF (Cat. No. E9644) and LIF (Cat. No. L5283). The cells were expanded in neural stem cell expansion medium (Cat. No. S3194) and then moved to conditions to allow them to differentiate. Differentiated cells were fixed and stained with an antibody for GFAP (an astrocyte marker in green, Cat. No.G9269). Actin is labeled with TRITC phalloidin (Cat. No. P1951) and the nuclei are labeled with DAPI (Cat. No. D8417).



  1. Yu, J., and Thomson, J. A. (2008) Pluripotent stem cell lines. Genes Dev. 22, 1987–1997.
  2. Yin, P. T., Han, E., and Lee, K.-B. (2016) Engineering Stem Cells for Biomedical Applications. Adv. Healthc. Mater. 5, 10–55.