Fetal stem cells have been another source of controversy through the years. Some people disagree with using a fetus for stem cell research. Several factors are involved in the controversy. Aborted fetuses, via abortion, were used at one time for a source of fetal stem cells. Unplanned miscarriages are another source. These avenues evokes many emotions in people no matter what the source of fetal stem cells are. Another avenue for fetal stem cells has been discovered in the amnionic fluid surrounding the fetus growing in the womb. A routine and generally safe medical procedure, known as amniocentesis, is the therapy used to extract a small amount of the amnionic fluid in which to process the fetal stem cells.
Ming-Song Tsai, Shiaw-Min Hwang, Yieh-Loong Tsai, Fu-Chou Cheng, Jia-Ling Lee, and Yu-Jen Chang in Taiwan wrote a research paper entitled, Clonal Amniotic Fluid-Derived Stem Cells Express Characteristics of Both Mesenchymal and Neural Stem Cells, describing the merits of amnionic fluid in stem cell use.
The summary is as follows:
“Recent evidence has shown that amniotic fluid may be a novel source of fetal stem cells for therapeutic transplantation. We previously developed a two-stage culture protocol to isolate a population of amniotic fluid-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AFMSCs) from second-trimester amniocentesis. AFMSCs maintain the capacity to differentiate into multiple mesenchymal lineages and neuron-like cells. It is unclear whether amniotic fluid contains heterogeneous populations of stem cells or a subpopulation of primitive stem cells that are similar to marrow stromal cells showing the behavior of neural progenitors. In this study, we showed a subpopulation of amniotic fluid-derived stem cells (AF-SCs) at the single-cell level by limiting dilution. We found that NANOG- and POU5F1 (also known as OCT4)-expressing cells still existed in the expanded single cell-derived AF-SCs. Aside from the common mesenchymal characteristics, these clonal AF-SCs also exhibit multiple phenotypes of neural-derived cells such as NES, TUBB3, NEFH, NEUNA60, GALC, and GFAP expressions both before and after neural induction. Most importantly, HPLC analysis showed the evidence of dopamine release in the extract of dopaminergic-induced clonal AF-SCs. The results of this study suggest that besides being an easily accessible and expandable source of fetal stem cells, amniotic fluid will provide a promising source of neural progenitor cells that may be used in future cellular therapies for neurodegenerative diseases and nervous system injuries.”
This is very promising news for neuronal impairment in people suffering from diseases and injuries.
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