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Stem cells characteristics

As a result of intensification of the research on stem cell biology and their application for organ and tissue renewal, an entirely new medical specialty has emerged – regenerative medicine. Its potential achievements in the 21st century may be comparable to  the enormous advance which had taken place in the 20th century, after the introduction of antibiotics. Proper use of the stem cells, in various types of therapies, is going to occur the moment we can steer their development to successfully create target tissues and organs. Today, the many questions concerned with the proceedings and control of organ and tissue regenerative processes, cannot be unequivocally answered (1).

 Two periods are distinguished in the stem cell growth: embryonic and post-embryonic.

1)    The following groups of cells are distinguished throughout the embryogenesis:
•    totipotent – they are blastomeres produced by division of the zygote, and capable of developing into a complete organism and placenta,
•    pluripotent – have the capacity to differentiate into any of the three germ layers: mesoderm, ectoderm and endoderm,
•    multipotent – have the capacity to give rise to multiple types of cells, but only those of a closely related family of cells; for example, the umbilical cord blood stem cells belong to that group.
2)    Adult stem cells are found in the post-embryonic period, and they are:
•    unipotent – appear in small numbers in the organism tissue, are capable to differentiate along only one lineage (2-5).
Today, much of the research focuses on identifying, characterizing and isolating adult stem cells to offer the possibility of their application in treatment and renewal of adult, damaged tissues, either due to the exogenous cell therapy or the endogenous stem cell activation. At this point in time, however, most of isolated adult stem cells have a limited potential to differentiate, and attainment of unlimited proliferation and expansion of stem cells in culture is still not easy.

Stem cells characteristics are:
•    simple structure, morphologically unspecialized,
•    capability of renewing themselves throughout the organism’s entire life, as a result of which their population does not diminish or deplet,
•    they divide into asymmetric cells, one father cell that is identical to the original stem cell, and another daughter cell that is differentiated,
•    exhibit expression of stem cell markers such as: c-kit, Thy1 (6, 7).
Fig. 1, 2. MIC-1 cell culture examination in a phase scanning electron microscope
List of publications:
1. Vogel G.: How can a skin cell become a nerve cell? Science 2005, 309: 85.
2. Alison M.R., Poulsom R., Forbes S., Wright N.A.: An introduction to stem cells. J. Pathol. 2002, 197: 419–423.
3. Cegielski M., Całkosiński I., Dzięgiel P., Zabel M.: Search for stem cells for pulmonary alveolar epithelium. Bull. Vet. Inst. Pulawy 2004, 48: 471–475.
4. Cogle C.R., Guthrie S.M., Sanders R.C., Allen W.L., Scott E.W., Petersen B.E.: An overview of steam cell research and regulatory issues. Mayo Clin. Proc. 2003, 78: 993–1003.
5. Lee O.K., Kuo T.K., Chen W.M., Lee K.D., Hsieh S.L., Chen T.H.: Isolation of multipotent mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord blood. Blood 2004, 103: 1669–1675.
6. Emura M.: Stem cells of the respiratory epithelium and their in vitro cultivation. In Vitro Cell. Dev. Biol. Anim. 1997, 33: 3–14.
7. Zhou S., Schuetz J.D., Bunting K.D., Colapietro A.M., Sampath J., Morris J.J., Lagutina I., Grosveld G.C., Osawa M., Nakauchi H., Sorrentino B.P.: The ABC transporter Bcrp1/ABCG2 is expressed in a wide variety of stem cells and is a molecular determinant of the side-population phenotype. Nat. Med. 2001, 7: 1028–1034.
8. Pituch-Noworolska A., Majka M., Janowska-Wieczorek A., Baj-Krzyworzeka M., Urbanowicz B., Malec E., Ratajczak M.Z.: Circulating CXCR4-positive stem/progenitor cells compete for SDF-1 positive niches in bone marrow, muscle and neural tissues: an alternative hypothesis to stem cell plasticity. Folia Histochem. Cytobiol. 2003, 41: 13–21.
9. Bartholomew A., Sturgeon C., Siatskas M., Ferrer K., McIntosh K., Patil S., Hardy W., Devine S., Ucker D., Deans R., Moseley A., Hoff man R.: Mesenchymal stem cells suppress lymphocyte proliferation in vitro and prolong skin graft survival in vivo. Exp. Hematol. 2002, 30: 42–48.
10. Chamberlain G., Fox J., Ashton B., Middleton J.: Concise review: mesenchymal stem cells: their phenotype, diff erentiation capacity, immunological features, and potential for homing. Stem Cells 2007, 25: 2739–2749.
11. Corcione A., Benvenuto F., Ferretti E., Giunti D., Cappiello V., Cazzanti F., Risso M., Gualandi F., Mancardi G.L., Pistoia V., Uccelli A.: Human mesenchymal stem cells modulate B-cell functions. Blood 2006, 107: 367–372.
12. Javazon E.H., Beggs K.J., Flake A.W.: Mesenchymal stem cells: paradoxes of passaging. Exp. Hematol. 2004, 32: 414–425.
13. Matsumoto R., Omura T., Yoshiyama M., Hayashi T., Inamoto S., Koh K.R., Ohta K., Izumi Y., Nakamura Y., Akioka K., Kitaura Y., Takeuchi K., Yoshikawa J.: Vascular endothelial growth factor-expressing mesenchymal stem cell transplantation for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction. Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 2005, 25: 1168–1173.
14. Tsuchiya H., Kitoh H., Sugiura F., Ishiguro N.: Chondrogenesis enhanced by overexpression of sox9 gene in mouse bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 2003, 301: 338–343.
15. Zhang X.S., Linkhart T.A., Chen S.T., Peng H., Wergedal J.E., Guttierez G.G., Sheng M.H., Lau K.H., Baylink D.J.: Local ex vivo gene therapy with bone marrow stromal cells expressing human BMP4 promotes endosteal bone formation in mice. J. Gene Med. 2004, 6: 4–15.
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