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Overview of mesenchymal stem cells

Nova Publishers
Publication Date
  • 060100 Biochemistry And Cell Biology
  • 110300 Clinical Sciences
  • Stem Cells
  • Cell Surface Markers
  • Differentiation
  • Regeneration
  • Biomaterials
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Stem cells are unprogrammed cells which possess plasticity and self renewal capability. The term of stem cell was first used to describe cells committed to give rise to germline cells, and to describe proposed progenitor cells of the blood system [1]. A unique feature of stem cell is to remain quiescent in vivo in an uncommitted state. They serve as reservoir or natural support system to replenish cells lost due to disease, injury or aging. When triggered by appropriate signals these cells divide and may become specialized, committed cells; however being able to control this differentiation process still remains one of the biggest challenge in stem cell research [2]. The cell division of stem cells is a distinct aspect of their biology, since this division may be either symmetric or asymmetric. Symmetric division takes place when the stem cells divides and forms two new daughter cells. Asymmetric division is thought to take place only under certain conditions where stem cells divides and gives rise to a daughter cell which remains primitive and does not proliferate, and one committed progenitor cell, which heads down a path of differentiation. Asymmetric division of stem cells helps reparative process, and also ensures that the stem cells pool does not decrease, whereas symmetric division is responsible for stem cells undergoing self renewal and proliferation. The factors which prompt the stem cells to undergo asymmetric division are, however, not well understood, but it is clear that the delicate balance between the self renewal and differentiation is what maintains tissue homeostasis.

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