Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2001-1326-3-15) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors have no financial conflict of interests to declare.
YQ and DW contributed equally to the literature review and manuscript preparation. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Lung possesses very limited regenerative capacity. Failure to maintain homeostasis of lung epithelial cell populations has been implicated in the development of many life-threatening pulmonary diseases leading to substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide, and currently there is no known cure for these end-stage pulmonary diseases. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and somatic cell-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) possess unlimited self-renewal capacity and great potential to differentiate to various cell types of three embryonic germ layers (ectodermal, mesodermal, and endodermal). Therapeutic use of human ESC/iPSC-derived lung progenitor cells for regeneration of injured or diseased lungs will have an enormous clinical impact. This article provides an overview of recent advances in research on pluripotent stem cells in lung tissue regeneration and discusses technical challenges that must be overcome for their clinical applications in the future.