2007, Number 36
Med Univer 2007; 9 (36)
Jaime PJC, Garza VI, Ortiz LR
PDF size: 177.97 Kb.
Stem cells are defined by their self-renewal capacity and their ability to generate diverse kinds of specialized progeny. Stem cells can be
classified by their differentiation potential as totipotent, pluripotent, or multipotent, and by their tissue of origin in embryonic or adult stem
cells. A great deal of interest has risen regarding their distinct differentiation models, from the conventional straightforward mother stem
cell-daughter cell, to the considerably more complex transdifferentiation and undifferentiation models. These models are currently being
applied to understand the phenomenon of cell plasticity that characterizes these cells. Stem cell plasticity accounts for the capacity to
generate cells types different from their original tissue, a good example being the hematopoietic stem cells, which can give origin to hepatocytes
and myocytes under highly regulated conditions. There are challenges and controversies regarding diverse aspects of research
in stem cell plasticity studies, as a great deal of them are performed on donated ova from human fertility centers, leading to heated ethic
arguments that require being dealt with in order to further improve stem cell research. Currently, it is possible to obtain pluripotent stem
cells from sources other than human embryos, for example the amniotic fluid. New and spectacular developments in stem cell therapy and
regenerative medicine are continuously being investigated. International legislation regarding manipulation and research on stem cells is
heterogeneous and frequently divergent, whereas national laws are limited in their capacity to deal with the evolving challenges in these
research and therapeutic field.
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