First topic. Stem cells

Hi Everyone …

So my first topic will be on the stem cells …!

To be honest, I have got inspirit on this topic from the last seminar I have attended. It was about “Induction of Pluripotent Stem Cells”. And unfortunately I didn’t understand a thing. >.<”
But now things are gone change.

First, let’s begin with the definition of stem cell and with an introduction of its types. Basically stem cell means type of a cell found in all multi-organisms which can divide and develop into cells with particular functions.
Which means that stem cells have unique properties such as self-renewal (The ability to go through numerous cycles of cell division while maintaining the undifferentiated state) and potency (the capacity to differentiate into specialized cell types).
The main two types of stem cell are embryonic stem cells which are isolated from the inner cell mass within a blastocysts and adult stem cells that are found in adult tissues.
To get in more details with Embryonic stem cell, beginning with a fertilized egg as totipoten,(Totipten has the potential to become all other types of cells in the body). While the Pluripotent stem cells are the descendants of totipotent cells and can differentiate into nearly all cells except those are needed to develop a fetus.
See this lovely figure to get an overview 😉

Whereas in adult stem cells we can found progenitor cells that acts just like a repairing system for the body. Also it has importance in mentioning the tissues such as blood, skin, or intestinal tissues.

In addition, the great difference between the both types of stem cells is in the telomerase enzyme which is produced in the embryonic stem cell but not in the Adult stem cells. Which really explain for us why dose the embryonic stem cell have the capacity to divide more thus we are talking about fetus! So bottom line we know that the embryonic stem cells are more useful than the adult stem cells. Obviously we are gone to use embryonic stem cell in the medical field. Like being used be to understand disease mechanisms, to screen effective and safe drugs, and to treat patients of various diseases and injuries, such as juvenile diabetes and spinal cord injury.

So in order to get the embryonic stem cells which are found in the inner cell mass in blastocysts as mentioned earlier when we try to isolate it we are actually killing the fetus!!! Ok seriously it’s a big problem.

To overcome this obstacle the professor Shinya Yamanaka and Kazutoshi Takahashi from Kyoto University got an idea to get the Pluripotent without using the inner cell mass of the blastocyst. In 2006, they have succeeded to do that by using a virus to enter 4 genes into a mouse skin cell. As soon as they inter, the cell begin to face changes which is basically working on reprogramming the cell into Pluripotent state. As called “Induction of Pluripotent Stem Cells” for short (iPS cells). After one year later, they take the same concept and use it in human instead of the mouse.

Well, luckily I was able to put my hand on those two studies (of course by help from my friend). However, it seems like I have to cut long distance before I can fully understand them. Not a big problem for a bio student 😉

If you like to download these studies, click on the links below

Thats it see you in my next post.

Bio Student :p