What are Mesenchymal Stem Cells?

What are Mesenchymal Stem Cells?

There are stem cells in practically every tissue of your body, but stem cells are not all the same.  There are different stem cells that we can find in various tissue sources that possess different characteristics.  A stem cell is defined as a cell that can transform or differentiate into a particular cell type, like a skin cell or muscle cell.  Various safety and ethical issues drove a lot of research into different stem cell sources and scientists quickly realized the potential of using stem cells from one’s own body.  This is called “autologous use” of adult stem cells.

Celltex is focused on Mesenchymal Stem Cells or MSCs because they are readily found in the body and can give rise to many different cell types. Mesenchymal stem cells can become bone, cartilage, muscle, nerves, fat and pancreatic beta cells, along with other types of cells.

Fig. 1. Multilineage differentiation of culture-expanded hAdMSCs. (A) Oil red O staining of induced adipocytes from hAdMSCs. (B) Differentiation of hAdMSCs into osteoblasts as evaluated by Alizarin red S staining. (C) Chondrogenic potential of hAdMSCs as shown by toluidine blue O staining. (D) Differentiated myocytes were detected by immunostaining with myosin antibody (E). The hAdMSCs showed neurogenic differentiation by immunostaining with MAP2, (F) neuron specific enolase, (G) TUJ1, and (H) GFAP antibodies. hAdMSC, human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells.

Other than the MSCs ability to become numerous different cell types, they also have the ability to:

  • Fight inflammation
  • Prevent cell death
  • Form new blood vessels
  • Direct the immune system, using other repair cell types to aid in healing
  • Self-Regenerate

chart - benefits of fat-derived stem cells

Why Fat?

Mesenchymal stem cells can be found in practically every tissue of your body.  They are most readily taken from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, placenta and fat.  Upon looking for the best possible source for MSCs, we conducted a lot of research into ease of retrieving cells and ensuring high stem cell volumes.

When comparing different sources, we found that fat tissue consistently had high quantities of MSCs. For example, in bone marrow, MSCs constituted just 0.0001%-0.01% of all bone marrow nucleated cells (Pittenger, et al). Fat tissue typically contains 100,000 MSCs in each gram of fat (Sen, et al) and also the differentiation capacity is less affected by one’s age (Jo, et al).