A Bmp reporter transgene mouse embryonic stem cell model as a tool to identify and characterize chemical teratogens

Kugler, J.; Tharmann, J.; Chuva De Sousa Lopes, S. M.; Kemler, R.; Luch, A.; Oelgeschläger, M.

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) were first isolated from mouse embryos more than 30 years ago. They have proven invaluable not only in generating genetically modified mice that allow for analysis of gene function in tissue development and homeostasis but also as models for genetic disease. In addition, ESCs in vitro are finding inroads in pharmaceutical and toxicological testing, including the identification of teratogenic compounds. Here, we describe the use of a bone morphogenetic protein (Bmp)-reporter ESC line, isolated from a well-characterized transgenic mouse line, as a new tool for the identification of chemical teratogens. The Bmp-mediated expression of the green fluorescent protein enabled the quantification of dose- and time-dependent effects of valproic acid as well as retinoic acid. Significant effects were detectable at concentrations that were comparable to the ones observed in the classical embryonic stem cell test, despite the fact that the reporter gene is expressed in distinct cell types, including endothelial and endodermal cells. Thus these cells provide a valuable new tool for the identification and characterization of relevant mechanisms of embryonic toxicity.

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Kugler, J. / Tharmann, J. / Chuva De Sousa Lopes, S. M. / et al: A Bmp reporter transgene mouse embryonic stem cell model as a tool to identify and characterize chemical teratogens. 2015.

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