What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are cells found in all multicellular organisms, where they can multiply (self-renew) or mutate. For humans, stem cells have the ability to transform into any cell in an adult human body, such as skin cells, brain cells, and blood cells.
In a developing fetus, stem cells can transform into all types of specialized fetal tissue. Whereas In an adult, stem and progenitor cells are considered to be the body’s repair system, which works to regenerate specialized cells.
Researches in the field of stem cells have been going on for more than 50 years, because stem cells have a unique ability of division and continuous multiplying. In addition to its non-specialized nature allows it to transform into a wide variety of tissue types, which provides a huge potential for use in regenerative medicine.
What are the 5 types of Stem Cells?
Based on differentiation potential(what they can turn into), the five types of stem cellsare:
The importance of this cell type is that it can self-renew and differentiate into any of the three germ layers, which are: ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm. These three germ layers further differentiate to form all tissues and organs within a human being.
Multipotent Stem Cells:
An excellent example of this cell type is the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) that can differentiate into osteoblasts (a type of bone cell), myocytes (muscle cells), adipocytes (fat cells), and chondrocytes (cartilage cells).
Oligopotent Stem Cells:
An excellent example of this cell type is the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC), HSCs are oligopotent stem cells that can differentiate into both myeloid and lymphoid cells.
Unipotent Stem Cells:
An example of this stem cell type would be muscle stem cells.
How are stem cells used in medicine?
Currently, most medical clinics offering stem cell therapy use mesenchymal stem cells, which they obtain from adipose tissue or bone marrow.Mesenchymal cells are a type of pluripotent stem cells that are being explored for applications that include bone repair, pain control, arthritis, asthma, and much more.
Mesenchymal cells have a great ability to affect other cells within the human body, a phenomenon known as Paracrine Signaling.