Optimization of Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) Embryonic Stem Cell Culture System

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Animal and Poultry Science and Fisheries, Agricultural Institute, Iranian Research Organisation for Science and Technology (IROST), Tehran, Iran

2 Embryo Biotechnology Laboratory, Animal Biotechnology Centre, National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Karnal, India


In order to retain an undifferentiated pluripotent state, embryonic stem (ES) cells have to be cultured on feeder cell layers. However, use of feeder layers limits stem cell research, since experimental data may result from a combined ES cell and feeder cell response to various stimuli.
Materials and Methods
In this experimental study, a buffalo ES cell line was established from in vitro derived blastocysts and characterized by the Alkaline phosphatase (AP) and immunoflourescence staining of various pluripotency markers. We examined the effect of various factors like fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2), leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and Y-27632 to support the growth and maintenance of bubaline ES cells on gelatin coated dishes, in order to establish feeder free culture systems. We also analyzed the effect of feeder-conditioned media on stem cell growth in gelatin based cultures both in the presence as well as in the absence of the growth factors.
The results showed that Y-27632, in the presence of FGF-2 and LIF, resulted in higher colony growth and increased expression of Nanog gene. Feeder-Conditioned Medium resulted in a significant increase in growth of buffalo ES cells on gelatin coated plates, however, feeder layer based cultures produced better results than gelatin based cultures. Feeder layers from buffalo fetal fibroblast cells can support buffalo ES cells for more than two years.
We developed a feeder free culture system that can maintain buffalo ES cells in the short term, as well as feeder layer based culture that can support the long term maintenance of buffalo ES cells.