Concise review: Induced pluripotent stem cells versus embryonic stem cells: Close enough or yet too far apart?

Josipa Bilic, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


The state of a cell is defined by the genes it transcribes and the epigenetic landscape that regulates their expression. Pluripotent cells have markedly different epigenetic signatures when compared with differentiated cells. Permissive chromatin, high occurrence of bivalent domains, and low levels of heterochromatin allow pluripotent cells to react to distinctive stimuli and undergo changes of cell state by differentiating into various tissues. Differentiated cells can be reprogrammed by a set of transcription factors to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) that convert their transcriptional and epigenetic state to pluripotency and thus closely resemble embryonic stem cells (ESC). However, questions remain on whether the epigenetic reprogramming is complete or if there are some recurring iPSC specific aberrations that impede their full pluripotency potential. For this reason, iPSC need to be closely compared with ESC, which is used as a golden standard for in vitro pluripotency. Transcribed genes, epigenetic landscape, differentiation potential, and mutational load show small but distinctive dissimilarities between these two cell types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Pluripotent stem cells
  • Reprogramming
  • Self-renewal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Concise review: Induced pluripotent stem cells versus embryonic stem cells: Close enough or yet too far apart?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this