STEM CELLS AND DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT, ROYAN INSTITUTE FOR STEM CELL BIOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY, ACECR, TEHRAN, IRAN
Embryonic stem cells are characterized with two specific properties: self renewal and differentiation potential. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent cells that can be differentiated into three kind of germ layers; ectoderm endoderm mesoderm. These properties make them ideal for developmental research toxicology and transplantation in animal model of human diseases. These cells can be differentiated spontaneously into three germ layer cells but in direct differentiation molecules and growth factors involved in natural development of desired cells must well characterized to gain a proper differentiation in vitro. There are increasing numbers of death because of liver disease and failure of organ transplantation in our country and the world. This made stem cell scientists to work on embryonic stem cell differentiation to hepatocyte like cells to create an accessible cell source in regenerative medicine of liver disease in the future and also to establish stem cell derived hepatocyte for in vitro screening of drugs. In this review we will summarize the process of liver development including molecules and growth factors incorporate in the liver development as a template for in vitro differentiation of mouse and human embryonic stem cells and then we will discuss the related studies and techniques for analyzing functionality of differentiated cells.