If you’ve ever considered undergoing regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, for a health condition or to maintain optimal health as you age, you may have wondered how many types of stem cells the human body contains. It’s difficult to answer, and not even all scientists agree. There are two main methods used to classify stem cells. The differentiation potential considers what a stem cell could potentially become, and the origin method considers where the cells were sourced.
This article will discuss the five groups of cells based on the differentiation potential method.
Totipotent cells are also referred to as omnipotent cells. Like the omnipotent narrator in a book, totipotent cells see the whole story. In humans, they form the placenta and embryonic tissues. Totipotent cells have the power to transform into fully developed living organisms.
Pluripotent stem cells are the second in command. They can differentiate into three layers, ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm. These three layers are the building blocks for all of the tissues and organs that make up a human body.
Multipotent cells can self-renew, but the cell types they can replicate are limited. The mesenchymal stem cell (often used in stem cell therapy) is an example of a multipotent cell. They can differentiate into muscle cells, bone cells, fat cells, and chondrocytes, the type of cartilage cells that are often damaged
Oligopotent cells are similar to multipotent cells, but they are even more limited in their ability to self-renew. They are still a valuable tool in stem cell therapy but can only be used to regenerate cell types that are closely related. Hematopoietic cells (blood cells) are one example.
As the prefix, “uni” (or “one”) implies, unipotent cells are the most limited. Muscle cells are unipotent. They can only self-renew into new muscle cells.
It is helpful to understand the different types of stem cells and their potential when discussing stem cell therapy with your specialist. The additional information is essential when weighing the pros and cons of regenerative medicine for your treatment. The availability and harvesting of different types of stem cells can also help to explain the costs and processes involved with regenerative medicine.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.