Stem cells are undifferentiated cells which are defined by their ability to become multiple types of cells and their ability to proliferate indefinitely. Two of the most commonly talked about types of stem cells are mesenchymal and embryonic. In this article we discuss the differences between mesenchymal and embryonic stem cells.
WHAT ARE STEM CELLS?
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells which are defined by two key characteristics: the ability to become multiple types of cells and the ability to proliferate indefinitely. Stem cells can be found in many parts of the body, including the brain, bone marrow, blood vessels, skin teeth, gut and liver.
WHAT ARE MESENCHYMAL STEM CELLS?
Mesenchymal stem cells are a form of adult, multipotent stem cell that can differentiate into multiple different types of stem cells. Their self-renewing qualities allow them to be used to treat neurological disorders, pathologies, bone and cartilage diseases, and diabetes, among other disorders. Mesenchymal stem cells are taken from the tissue of a variety of different parts of the body such as the umbilical cord, bone marrow, and adipose tissue.
WHAT ARE EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS?
Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, a pre-implantation embryo of about 200-300 cells which begins to form 5 days after the egg is fertilized. They are used to test drugs, model diseases and can serve as therapies when injected directly into the body. Embryonic stem cells have the ability to become any type of cell, except sperm and egg cells, and have an unlimited capacity for self-renewal.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MESENCHYMAL AND EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS
There are a few key differences between mesenchymal and embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are characterized by their capacity to perpetually self-renew and their pluripotency, their ability to become any type of cell within an organism. Mesenchymal stem cells, on the other hand, are more limited in their ability to differentiate. Unlike embryonic stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells are not rejected by a recipient.
PROS AND CONS BETWEEN MESENCHYMAL AND EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS
These two types of stem cells both have there pros and cons when it comes to stem cell treatment. Mesenchymal stem cells, however, are safer, not rejected by the recipient, and are also not ethically controversial.
PROS AND CONS OF MESENCHYMAL STEM CELLS
Are not rejected by recipient
Not ethically controversial
Have no serious side effects or dangers
More limited in their ability to differentiate
More limited in their ability to self-renew
PROS AND CONS OF EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS
Can become any type of cell within an organism
Can be rejected by recipient
Can lead to tumor formation, immune system rejection, and cancer.
The harvesting of embryonic stem cells is regarded by some as controversial because it involves the destruction of human embryos.
MESENCHYMAL VS. EMBRYONIC STEM CELL TREATMENT
Mesenchymal stem cells are a promising and useful tool for cell therapy and the treatment of many diseases and conditions. To date, Mesenchymal stem cells have assisted in the repair and response of diseased tissue and helped treat conditions such as Parkinson’s, Lupus, Crohn’s Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. They can also be used to improve degenerative changes in joints and to reconstruct and fortify bones and cartilage.
Embryonic stem cells can be used as a treatment method through injection, implantation, or transplantation. During an embryonic stem cell procedure, the cells are first developed into specific adult cell types. Embryonic stem cell treatment could be used to restore damaged organs or tissues, replace neurons damaged by Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, or stroke, and treat bone, ligament, and cartilage injuries. Many researchers and scientists believe that increased research on embryonic stem cell treatment could yield new understanding on diseases and stem cell function. Despite this promise, embryonic stem cell treatment is still far less reliable and safe than mesenchymal treatment due to potential risks such as tumor growth, immune rejection, and neurological complications.
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells which can become different kinds of cells and can proliferate indefinitely. There are two major types of stem cells: mesenchymal and embryonic. Embryonic stem cells are derived from pre-implantation embryos and can differentiate into any kind of cell within the body. Mesenchymal stem cells are derived from tissue and more limited in their abilities.