In the last scientific post, we recapitulated a bit of the history behind the, arguably, the most successful and widespread stem cell treatment out there which is hematopoietic stem cell (HSCs) transplant (more commonly known as bone marrow transplant). In this treatment, the goal is to replenish the entire repertoire of blood cells in a patient. Today we will focus on another adult stem cell population that have gained much public attention and was initially described as a sub-set of the stem cells found in the bone marrow: the Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSCs).
Some technical background: it has been known for a while that HSCs are cells that grow in suspension in vitro, that is to say they don’t need any anchoring to grow, but rather they divide and multiply without being in contact with any surface. However, a Russian researcher called Alexander Friedstein in the 60s and 70s described a population of cells that, contrary to HSCs, appeared not to grow in suspension, but attached to the bottom of the plastic plates1. After a series of studies and further contributions by American scientist Arnold Caplan, the scientific community began hypothesizing if these cells could be the ones that give rise to all tissues derived from the so called “Mesenchyme” which would be blood, muscle, bone, blood vessels, etc2. After 1999, many groups started describing these cells in all sort of tissues of the body (bone marrow, adipose tissue, muscle, liver, brain, etc) and suspecting these MSCs would be endowed with regenerative capacity3.
Currently, the field has come to some sort of a consensus that these cells are not regenerative in nature except for a specific list of tissues (applications in bone, adipose, cartilage are the most common)4. Additionally, these cells have shown to be potent immune regulators and the majority and most promising clinical trials underway are focusing on diseases which would benefit from this characteristic such as Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD), Crohn’s Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis or to regenerate bone/cartilage tissues.
We hope in the future to see patients benefiting from this important development in the stem cell field.
- Caplan, A. I. Mesenchymal stem cells. Journal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society 9, 641–50 (1991).
- Pittenger, M. F. et al. Multilineage potential of adult human mesenchymal stem cells. Science (New York, N.Y.) 284, 143–7 (1999).
- Bianco, P., Riminucci, M., Gronthos, S. & Robey, P. G. Bone marrow stromal stem cells: nature, biology, and potential applications. Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio) 19, 180–92 (2001).
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REF DA IMAGEM: https://images.app.goo.gl/iGBYx4RNtpBadYx58