Survival of porcine inner cell masses in culture and after injection into blastocysts

G. B. Anderson, S. J. Choi, Robert Bondurant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Isolation of embryonic stem cells has been documented only in the mouse and perhaps the hamster and cow. We report results of experiments designed to determine the effect of age of porcine embryos (6 through 10 d after the first day of estrus) on isolation of cell lines with embryonic stem cell-like morphology. The capacity of fresh and short-term cultured inner cell mass (ICM) cells to differentiate into normal tissues after injection into blastocysts was also measured. Few Day-6 ICM survived in culture to the first passage onto fresh feeder cells, but cell lines with embryonic stem cell-like morphology developed from Day-7 through Day-10 ICM. Isolation of embryonic stem cell-like colonies was achieved at a higher frequency from ICM isolated from older embryos, but embryonic stem cell-like colonies from older embryos also tended to differentiate spontaneously in culture. Viable porcine chimeras were born after injection of fresh ICM into blastocysts that were transferred to recipients for development to term; no chimeras were born from blastocysts injected with ICM subjected to short-term (1 to 6 d) culture. Germ-cell chimerism was confirmed in one of the chimeras. These results document that undifferentiated cells can be removed from porcine blastocysts, transplanted to other embryos, and contribute to development of normal differentiated tissues, including germ cells. Cells with embryonic stem-like morphology can be isolated in culture from ICM at various embryonic ages, but ICM from young blastocysts (e.g., Day-7 embryos) yield embryonic stem cell-like colonies at lower frequency than do ICM from older blastocysts (e.g., Day-10 embryos).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-212
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


  • chimera
  • embryonic stem cells
  • porcine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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