Stem cells and stem cell therapy have been gaining a lot of attention recently, some of it are controversial. However, it is still important to understand about stem cell in general and the several approaches to stem cell therapy. So first, let us discuss about stem cell. So, a stem cell is defined as an undifferentiated cell that can return to itself and develop into at least three different types of tissues.
Different Types of Stem Cells
There are a lot of categories of stem cells, and this include allogenic, autologous, and xenogenic. Allogenic stem cells are those that came from a donor of a similar species. Because the stem cells do not have the standard surface markers that can spark an immune response, there is no need to worry about rejection by the host tissue. Autologous stem cells are those that came from the same animal. These type of cells are good for transplanting since there is no problem about them being rejected. Xenogenic stem cells are those that derived from a donor of another species, for instance a pig. Although it is likely that these cells are to be rejected when injected into the body of another species, in some cases, they can still survive because of their unique characteristics.
How Do Stem Cells Function?
The most common function of stem cells is their ability to differentiate into different tissues, but they also possess other abilities that can be useful for healing. They can help recruit other systemic and local stem cells to focus on repairing damaged tissues.
Stem cells are triggered to move into an area by signals coming from the tissue based on mechanical, chemical and neural changes. Inflammation and hypoxia, which is the lack of oxygen, are strong triggers for stem cells to target a damage. The stem cells only account for less half of the new tissue formed and the rest are done by the cells recruited. This is the reason why only small injections of stem cells are used. Injecting a large number of stem cells into an injured are can intervene with healing, because some of the injected cells die and must be removed during the process of healing.
Stem Cell Therapy in Horses
The repair of ligament injuries in horses has shown the most successful. Injuries to the ligaments in the lower leg of a horse are very difficult to heal. The stem cells from the own fat of the injured horse can be immediately injected in the area of ligament injury to trigger the healing with less scarring.
Certainly, the stem cell therapy has a huge potential and it can be applied as a healing treatment for any injuries. Additionally, systemic stem cell therapy has the potential to be use in treating neurological conditions.