Multipotent adult human stem cells hold much promise for the development of new stem cell-based therapies. However, human stem cells are not present in all tissues and when available: (1) are only present in miniscule amounts and (2) need to undergo a rigorous process of purification and isolation prior to use.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have harvested neural crest stem cells (NCSC) from the gut tissues of adult human subjects. They have devised methods for simple isolation of NCSC from the tissues by relying on standard biological techniques. The isolated cells have self-renewal capabilities, are multipotent and can differentiate both in-vitro and in-vivo. The differentiated cells consist of both neurons and glia and express a variety of neurotransmitters. Transplantation of the stem cells into diseased and/or injured tissues of a host system has also been achieved.
Applications and Advantages
- The neural crest stem cells can be used for basic-nl-research applications as well as for developing-nl-therapeutic and diagnostic systems.
- The cells can be easily isolated from-nl-the postnatal guts of mammalian subjects,-nl-including humans, instead of embryonic or-nl-fetal subjects.
- The harvested stem cells are multipotent,-nl-self-renewing and can differentiate-nl-in vitro and in vivo.