Highly sensitive detection of residual undifferentiated pluripotent stem cells is essential for the quality and safety of cell-processed therapeutic products derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). We previously reported the generation of an adenovirus (Ad) vector and adeno-associated virus vectors that possess a suicide gene, inducible Caspase 9 (iCasp9), which makes it possible to sensitively detect undifferentiated hiPSCs in cultures of hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. In this study, we investigated whether these vectors also allow for detection of undifferentiated hiPSCs in preparations of hiPSC-derived neural progenitor cells (hiPSC-NPCs), which have been expected to treat neurological disorders. To detect undifferentiated hiPSCs, the expression of pluripotent stem cell markers was determined by immunostaining and flow cytometry. Using immortalized NPCs as a model, the Ad vector was identified to be the most efficient among the vectors tested in detecting undifferentiated hiPSCs. Moreover, we found that the Ad vector killed most hiPSC-NPCs in an iCasp9-dependent manner, enabling flow cytometry to detect undifferentiated hiPSCs intermingled at a lower concentration (0.002%) than reported previously (0.1%). These data indicate that the Ad vector selectively eliminates hiPSC-NPCs, thus allowing for sensitive detection of hiPSCs. This cytotoxic viral vector could contribute to ensuring the quality and safety of hiPSCs-NPCs for therapeutic use.
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