Stem cells therapy or stem cell treatment can say be that it is still in its infancy, early stages of development and clinical applications, hence there are still much to learn and only so few clinics offer certified and safe stem cell treatments.
That is why before jumping in and getting a stem cells treatment, you should at least have the knowledge what is stem cells. So that you’ll know what you will be getting into.
We’re not getting into the super-deep level knowledge about stem cells, but just enough.
So, the basic is; there are 5 types of stem cells commonly known as most powerful in stem cells research. And they’re:
- Totipotent (or Omnipotent) Stem Cells
- Pluripotent Stem Cells
- Multipotent Stem Cells
- Oligopotent Stem Cells
- Unipotent Stem Cells
Totipotent Stem Cells
These stem cells are the most powerful stem cells in existence, as they able to shift into embryonic, and extra-embryonic tissues such chorion, yolk sac, amnion and allantois. These tissues form placentas in human and placental animals.
It’s main and most important characteristic is that it can form and generate living and fully functioning organisms.
Here is the example for totipotent stem cells; a fertilized egg which formed when the sperm and egg fused to form zygote.
After about four days after post-fertilization these cells will shift and specialize into pluripotent cells, a flexible type of cells but they’re unable to produce a fully living organism.
Pluripotent Stem Cells
This cell is crucial as it able to differentiate and self-renew into the three different germ layer; ectoderm, endoderm and mesoderm. Then, these three germ layers will differentiate further to forming all organs and tissues in a human being.
Several types of pluripotent stem cells are known. In all of pluripotent stem cells, the embryonic cells are the best. But there are man-made pluripotent also exists, which is known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS).
iPS cells were first produce from mouse cells 2006 and human cells in 2007, are tissue-specific cells that can be programmed to function similarly to embryonic stem cells.
Due to their ability to differentiate in a wide variety of tissues and their not controversial nature, the induced pluripotent stem cells are suited for therapies and regenerative treatments.
Multipotent Stem Cells
This particular type of stem cells are middle-ranged type of stem cell, that can self-renew and differentiate into different and specific type of cells.
An example of this type of cell is the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC). The mesenchymal stem cell can differentiate into osteoblast (a type of bone cell), myocytes (muscle cells) adipocytes (fat cell), and chondrocytes (cartilage cells).
Each of the cells stated are diverse in their characteristics, the reason why mesenchymal stem cells are considered and classified as multipotent stem cells.
Oligopotent Stem Cells
The oligopotent stem cells are similar to the multipotent stem cells, but they become further restricted in their ability and capacity to differentiate.
They only able to differentiate but only to an extent, yet they’re still able to self-renew. Their ability to differentiate is only to closely related cells, unlike multipotent stem cells.
The best example is the hematopoietic stem cells (HSC)
Mesoderm is what HSC derived from, and mesoderm able to differentiate into other blood cells. To be exact, HSC is oligopotent stem cells that have the capacity to differentiate into different both myeloid and lymphoid cells.
Myeloid cells include basophils, macrophages, dendritic cells, eosinophil, erythrocytes, monocytes, megakaryocytes, platelets and neutrophils. Meanwhile, lymphoid cells include B cells, T cells and natural killer cells.
This is the least potent a and most limited cells type out of all stem cells.
The best example for this type of cells would be, muscle cells.
Muscle cells still able to self-renew and differentiate, but they only can differentiate into a single type of cell.