Stem Cell – An Introduction !



Stem Cell 

 We hear tons regarding stem cells recently, but what are they, where do they come from and what do we really know about them ? Let’s get started here !

Inside our bodies there is a microscopic world -  Completely  busy and much complicated like the world around us. In a simple way it can be said that - Stem cells build and maintain this world. 

Life in this world starts with a single  cell  called as “The Fertilized Egg”. Throughout the development process cells divide over and over again to produce billions of cells that make up our beloved body. At certain stages, most cells stop creating copies of themselves and start to become specialize. When we are fully formed almost all our cells have become specialized.
Stem Cell - An Introduction !
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 Cells look more beautiful when you put them under a microscope. Each type of cell has its own characteristics & features. Some types of cell starts growing very closely together to make beautiful patterns. Other types of cell used to move away from each other. Some cells are big where as some  others are always very small. It always depends on what type of cell they are. All cells are different from each other depending upon the work they perform. If we consider their nature of work then we will find Some carry oxygen through the blood system whereas some are the reason for the stretching and contracting of  muscles. Even some cells work as a messenger while carrying messages from our  brain to other parts of our body. 

What are Stem Cells ?

 “Stem cells” act as a reservoir.  As they are very basic in nature,they have lots of potential to generate other Cells that can be used in different therapies.

Because the above discussed “SPECIALIZED CELLS” can no longer make copies of themselves. So, if they die or get used up, they have to be replaced from somewhere. And this is where the STEM CELLs come into the picture.

Stem cells have no programming which means they are undifferentiated and can develop and divide into other cells.

Since stem cells can be harvested from certain parts of the body, such as cord blood stem cells, there is a need for storing or banking of these “stem cells” which is popularly known as Stem Cell Banking.

In a common man’s language, we can say that these Stem Cells are present in each and every system / parts of our body. These are generally the building blocks of our body. Our body can’t be defined without these cells. Our system always has to make new stem cells, so that they are not completely exhausted. Otherwise we will lose the capacity to make any new cells. In that case the stem cell starts working. 

Every time it divides, it produces two daughter cells and those daughter cells can be new stem cells or they can be specialized cells. For example a stem cell in the skin, can only make cells of the skin, but it can’t make blood cells and vice versa. This has produced a breakthrough in the treatment of extensive burns.

Similarly, Stem cells are also used to treat patients with blood disorders, such as leukemia. A transplant of just a few blood stem cells, is enough to repair the entire blood system. Stem cells for specific tissues and organs can only make the cells of that tissue.

Uses of Stem Cells:

As of now we come to know that stem cells can be converted into different types of cells in the human body as per the need of our body. All these process are done naturally in a human body. Different scientific researches related to Stem Cells reveals that these stem cells are very useful in understanding and treating different diseases that we come across in our daily life. 

Sources of Stem Cells: 

Stem Cells come from two main sources in human body. They are adult body tissue and embryos. Scientific researches are also going on to develop stem cells from other cell through different genetic reprogramming technologies. 


Types of Stem Cell :

Generally , various types of stem cells are found in a human body which work differently for different purposes.

A. Embryonic Stem Cells


       B.Non-Embryonic or Adult Stem Cells


A. Embryonic Stem Cells :

Embryonic Stem Cells are generally Pluripotent Stem Cells.Pluripotent Stem Cell can be converted to any other types of cells in the body. These type of stem cells are derived from three to five days old  human embryo. However , these stem cells cannot be extracted from an embryo present in a female body . Normally , they are extracted in the laboratory through a scientific process called in-vitro fertilization. In this process , fertilization of the embryo is done in an artificial manner.


B. Non-Embryonic (adult) Stem Cells:

Non-Embryonic Stem Cells are also known as adult Stem Cells or somatic stem cells. These are the no-reproductive cells present in the body. They are more specialized than the embryonic stem cells and very specific in their work. Adult stem cells are developed just after the embryo is formed. They remain in their main form until the body requires them for a specific purpose. Their major work in the body is to repair and replace damaged tissue in the same area where they are present.


Types 


1.Hematopoietic Stem Cells/Blood Stem Cells (HSCs) – Found in Bone Marrow which are responsible for Red Blood cells (RBC) and White Blood Cells(WBC)

2.Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs)–Found in Skeletal Muscles like bone cells,cartilage cells, Muscle Cells and Fat Cells .

3.Neural Stem Cells (NSCs) – Found in brain which generate neurons and glia of the nervous system

4.Epithelial Stem Cells (ESCs) – Found in epidermis part of all organs in the body.

5.Skin Stem Cells (SSCs) – Found in the adult skin . These are multipotent adult stem cells. These are active during skin renewal that occurs throughout life and helps in skin repair after injury.
  
Also go through our most popular article - Cord blood banking (Umbilical Cord).



Stem Cell – An Introduction ! Stem Cell – An Introduction ! Reviewed by Smruti on November 22, 2019 Rating: 5

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