What Are Mesenchymal Stem Cells?

What Are Mesenchymal Stem Cells?

Many people are unaware that there are a variety of different stem cells available. Stem cells are often referred to in a collective nature. However, not all stem cells are the same. One of the heavily studied types of stem cells that have taken the spotlight in recent years is mesenchymal stem cells. These stem cells are often referred to as the “other” bone marrow stem cells and offer a lot of benefits for many patients. As more research is conducted in mesenchymal stem cells, there is a better understanding of how they will continue to help patients in the future.

           Mesenchymal stem cells are multipotent. This means that while they cannot differentiate into any cell in the body, they can still differentiate in multiple different kinds of tissue cells. These mesenchymal stem cells are found in the bone marrow and are key components in the repair of skeletal tissues. Skeletal tissue involves cartilage, bone, and the fat found in the bone marrow. Mesenchymal stem cells are called the “other” bone marrow stem cells because hematopoietic stem cells are also found in the bone marrow. However, hematopoietic stem cells are used to make and repair blood cells.

           One of the reasons mesenchymal stem cells have not received notoriety until recent years is because they exist in very few amounts in the bone marrow. This has led to difficulty in the past in retrieving them. However, in recent years, scientists have found methods to isolate mesenchymal stem cells so they could be used for therapeutic purposes and could be studied easier. 

           Mesenchymal stem cells are important because of their implications for the future. Currently, treatments using mesenchymal stem cells are being developed to help with the repair of bone and cartilage problems. This could mean helping people who have suffered broken bones. Or, helping patients who are suffering from osteoarthritis, a breakdown of cartilage in the body, due to normal wear and tear throughout the years. Mesenchymal stem cells work by helping new blood vessels form in the affected area. This also means there could be use for mesenchymal stem cells in patients suffering from heart attacks or strokes. In addition, mesenchymal stem cells have also shown properties of reducing inflammation which could be key to treating autoimmune diseases or helping suppress rejection during transplant procedures.

           Mesenchymal stem cells have only recently begun to be understood by the scientific and medical communities. Their ability to differentiate into chondrocytes, osteoblasts, adipocytes have major implications for helping people suffering from normal wear and tear of the body. In the future, mesenchymal stem cells may be used to help patients suffering from pain associated with osteoarthritis and other bone and cartilage injuries. Mesenchymal stem cells work uniquely by increasing the number of blood vessels in a damaged area. This could change the way various ailments are treated in the future. Mesenchymal stem cells may be called the “other” bone marrow stem cells. However, through the research conducted which shows their positive contribution to the medical world, they are finally making a name for themselves. 


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