Stem Cells

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) contain unique characteristics such as self-renewable ability, the mesodermal differentiation potential and immuno modulatory properties can be found in adult tissues. Therefore, due to their great characteristics, they are used for regenerative medical purposes.

However, stem cells using for regenerative medical purposes are required to meet a set of criteria including:

  • MSCs need to be in a large quantity (millions to billions)
  • Can be acquired through minimally invasive procedures
  • Can be differentiated along multiple cell lineage pathways in a reproducible manner
  • Can be transplanted to allogeneic or autologous hosts

When stem cells are injected, they start the process of migrating to the site of the injured tissue or inflammation, supporting proliferation and differentiation of resident progenitor cells to replace lost cells. Stem cells also increase tissue angiogenesis and promote recovery of injured tissue through growth factor secretion and matrix remodelling. Stem cells have been clinically applied in different diseases such as; scleroderma, stress incontinence and type1 diabetes.

Different sites for obtaining stem cells have been introduced including: bone marrow,adipose tissue, blood, skeletal muscle, umbilical cord blood and urine.

  • Bone marrow (BM) has been introduced as the main source for obtaining MSCs; BM is the only tissue in the body that has a large reservoir of available MSCs. The applications of BM-MSCs include:
    • Graft versus host disease
    • Osteogenesis imperfect
    • Acute myocardial infarction

The procedure of obtaining BM-MSCs is invasive therefore; other sources for MSCs have been investigated.

  • Adipose tissue (AD) is one of the alternatives that have been introduced and used in the most of applications of MSCs. AD-MSCs are obtained through a less invasive method and able to easily grow under standard tissue culture conditions. In addition, AD-MSCs can be obtained in higher quantities compared to BM-MSCs. On the other hand, the differentiation efficiency of the AD-MSCs is dependent on patient as well as age which is the most important factor. The efficiency declines by increasing the age.
  • Blood is another important site for obtaining stem cells. There are 3 subpopulations of human blood stem cells including:
    • Myogenic endothelial cells (MECs)
    • Pericytes
    • Adventitial cells

MECs and pericytes are able to efficiently regenerate myofibres in injured and dystrophic skeletal muscles as well as improve cardiac function; they represent a promising stem cells subset within human skeletal muscle, an accessible autologous tissue source for cardiac repair and regeneration.

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