Mesenchymal Stem Cells:
Mesenchymal Stem cells (MSC’s) are derived from the mesoderm layer. MSC’s are the stromal connective tissue that form the support structure in which the functional cells exists. These are a type of adult stem cells which have the capability to differentiate into many types of cells within the body such as bone, cartilage, muscle cells, neural cells, skin cells, corneal cells, liver, myocardium, cartilage, trachea etc.. The major source of MSC’s include bone marrow, fat (Adipose Tissue), umbilical cord tissue (Wharton’s Jelly), amniotic fluid etc.. MSC’s have potent anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive response and also increases body’s healing abilities.
MSC’s remain dormant unless there is a need to promote any healing process in our body. MSC’s isolated from Wharton’s Jelly is considered to be the most primitive kind of MSC’s available. Umbilical Cords are usually discarded as a biological waste after the childbirth which could serve as a non-invasive source of stem cells.
MSC’s are identified by adherent colony forming unit fibroblasts (CFU-F) in culture flask. MSC’s are characterized by small cell body which are thin and long spindle shaped. They have very large, round prominent nucleus. MSC’s can differentiate into variety of cells types such as Osteoblasts, Chondrocytes, Myocytes and adipocytes. MSC’s are one of the major candidates for tissue engineering were construction of bioartificial tissues are done.
MSC’s not only differentiates into different tissue types but also supports haematopoiesis. MSC’s secret many cytokines and extracellular proteins which regulates homing and proliferation of hematopoietic cells. The surface receptors present on MSC’s help hematopoietic cells to attach and divide.
As MSC’s do not express class II MHC molecules, thus they don’t show any rejection response. Because of this unique property MSC’s allow a wide range of transplantations without any fear. The clinical applications of MSC’s are now in the lime light as there are wide range of diseases been treated such as autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, COPD, Parkinson’s etc..
There are over 200 different clinical trails conducted world wide finding out the clinical efficacy of MSC’s. As on date, there are no two papers reporting the same properties and results. There are lot of papers proving beyond doubt the efficacy of Mesenchymal Stem Cells clinically.