Dec 12, 2011 - Stem Cell Therapy    4 Comments

Pluripotent Stem Cells


Pluripotent stem cells have ability to differentiate in many types of cells, approximately around 200 types of cells. The most common example as we all know is embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are the cells derived from blastocyst of 5 days old embryo formed by in vitro fertilization. Embryonic stem cells have many limitations in terms of ethics, religion and law. Therefore scientists have focused their research for induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). Induced pluripotent stem cells are the cells artificially derived from non pluripotent cells like an adult somatic cells by inducing a forced expression of specific genes. These types of cells can overcome the limitation of embryonic stem cells and able to provide full benefit of it. Scientists are showing their keen interest in establishing relation of these cells in full extent with natural pluripotent stem cells. For that it is necessary to define properties, which proves the pluripotency of the cells and standardize method to prove that. At present literatures define following properties to show the pluripotency of the cells:

  • Formation of a teratoma
  • Unlimited self-renewal in culture
  • Expression of a specific set of transcription factors (for example, OCT4/POU5F1, SOX2, and NANOG)
  • Expression of a unique set of cell surface markers (such as SSEA-3, SSEA-4, TRA-1-60, and TRA-1-81)
  • Formation of embryoid bodies
  • A specific pattern of gene expression assayed by whole genome profiling
  • A specific epigenetic profile

According to latest work E-cadherin is the molecule responsible for giving all these pluripotent properties to the cells. E-cadherin is the intracellular glue which gives cell – cell adhesion. This is the reason for having strong adhesion between cells in blastocyst. Apart from cell glue E-cadherin is shown responsible for regulation of the genes associated with cell proliferation, cell death, metabolism of fats and sugars and translating the messages received from outside of the body. E-cadherin is also found responsible for cancer progression from benign to malignant teratoma. This finding helps us to know why embryonic stem cells have tendency of developing teratoma!


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