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How do Stem Cells know where to repair?

Updated: Oct 8

Stem cells the universal self-repair system.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multi-lineage cells with the ability to self-renew and differentiate into a variety of cell types, which play critical roles in tissue healing and regenerative medicine.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) represent an essential source for cell therapy in regenerative medicine. MSCs have shown promising results for repairing damaged tissues in various degenerative diseases, both in animal models and in human clinical trials. MSCs have a homing ability, meaning that they can migrate into injured sites, and they possess the capacity to differentiate into local components of injured sites and the ability to secrete chemokines, cytokines, and growth factors that help in tissue regeneration.

In response to injury signals, stem cells can potentially move from their niche into the peripheral circulation and pass through vessel walls to reach target tissues.

After mobilization and migration into injured tissues, stem cells will perform functions and promote wound healing of damaged tissues and diseases. Studies showed that, during this repairing process, recruited stem cells to secrete chemical factors—such as chemokines, cytokines, and growth factors— which are known as paracrine and are necessary to promote tissue repair/regeneration and/or differentiation into the injured tissue. Of note, the paracrine function has recently received more credit as compared to direct stem cell differentiation.

In summary, it is well confirmed that stem cells play essential roles in tissue healing and regenerative medicine because of their self-renewal, migratory and pluripotent properties. After sensing the injury signal released from damaged tissues, stem cells can mobilize from the source and migrate into injured tissues through peripheral circulation; this trafficking process is regulated and by multiple mechanical and chemical factors. Subsequently, stem cells reach the damaged tissue site and perform wound healing of damaged tissues through two fundamental mechanisms, i.e., paracrine and/or direct differentiation.

by Dr. Chontirot Srikasedsarakul

Dr. Chontirot Srikasedsarakul is a specialist in Genomics, Dermatology and Aesthetics.  She has received qualifications from numerous educational institutions like Stanford University, U.S.A.; the University of Queensland, Australia; Chulalongkorn University, Thailand and the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine.

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