Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Stem cell technology: overview

Contributor(s): Andy Bathe, Minnie Parmiter

What are stem cells?

  • Stem cells are, by definition, cells with the ability to differentiate into multiple cell types and are also unique in being able to perpetually self-renew without senescing. 
  • Stem cells do this through either symmetric division, where they self-renew, or asymmetric division, where they produce an identical daughter stem cell, as well as a cell that will become another type of cell. They exist naturally within the body where they act as a source of new cells in order to replace lost or damaged tissue.
  • There are broadly two types of mammalian stem cell: embryonic and adult. Embryonic stem cells are totipotent and can become any cell in the body and therefore could form a whole organism. These cells are associated with tumorigenesis. 
  • Adult stem cells, such as those used by equine stem cell therapy companies, are only multipotent and are more limited in their differentiation but can become any cells within a closely related family. This limited differentiation actually makes them easier to control in the lab. 
  • There is also a new class of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (IPSCs) these cells are differentiated cells that have been reprogrammed in an attempt to force them to revert to embryonic stem cell status. These cells have yet to be as successful, despite early hopes, due to problems with epigenetic reprogramming and instability leading to tumorigenesis. However there is much effort being focused on overcoming these problems due to the substantial benefits of a viable alternative to embryonic stem cells in research.
Print off the Owner factsheet on Stem cell therapy to give to your clients.

Rationale for use of stem cells as a treatment

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Evidence base

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Source of stem cells

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Indications

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Necessary training

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers
  • Recent references fromPubMed andVetMedResource.
  • Trela J M et al(2014)Scintigraphic comparison of inta-arterial injection and distal intravenous regional limb perfusion for administration of mesenchymal stem cells to the equine foot. Equine Vet J46(4), 479-483PubMed.
  • Lange-Consiglio A  et al(2013)Characteristics of equine mesenchymal stem cells derived from amnion and bone marrow: In vitroproliferative and multilineage potential assessment. Equine Vet J45(6), 737-744PubMed.
  • Bohannon L K   et al(2013)The effects of therapeutic concentrations of gentamicin, amikacin and hyaluronic acid on cultured bone marrow-derived equine mesenchymal stem cells. Equine Vet J45(6), 732-736PubMed.
  • Sole A et al(2013)Distribution and persistence of technetium-99 hexamethyl propylene amine oxime-labelled bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in experimentally induced tendon lesions after intratendinous injection and regional perfusion of the equine distal limb. Equine Vet J45(6), 726-731PubMed.
  • Gattegno-Ho D et al(2012) Stem cells and veterinary medicine: tools to understand diseases and enable tissue regeneration and drug discovery. Vet J191(1), 19-27 (Review)PubMed.
  • Godwin E E et al(2012)Implantation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells demonstrates improved outcome in horses with over-strain injury of the superficial digital flexor tendon. Equine Vet J44(1), 25-32PubMed.
  • Hematti P (2012)Mesenchymal stromal cells and fibroblasts: a case of mistaken identity? Cytotherapy14(5), 516-521PubMed.
  • Marfe G et al(2012)Blood Derived Stem Cells: An Ameliorative Therapy in Veterinary Ophthamology. J Cell Physio227 (3), 1250-1256PubMed.
  • Young M (2012) Stem cell applications in tendon disorders: A clinical perspective. Stem Cells Int PubMed.
  • Pera M F (2011)Stem Cells: The dark side of induced pluripotency. Nature471(7336), 46-47PubMed.
  • Crovace A et al(2010)Histological and immunohistochemical evaluation of autologous cultured bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells and bone marrow mononucleated cells in collagenase-induced tendinitis of equine superficial digital flexor tendon. Vet Med Int doi:10.4061/2010/250978PubMed.
  • Frisbie D D & Smith R K W (2010) Clinical update on the use of mesenchymal stem cells in equine orthopaedics. Equine Vet J42(1), 86-89 (Review)PubMed.
  • OMeara B et al(2010)An investigation of the relationship between race performance and superficial digital flexor tendonitis in the Thoroughbred racehorse. Equine Vet J42(4), 322-326PubMed.
  • Stewart A A et al(2009)Comparison of equine tendon-, muscle-, and bone marrowderived cells cultured on tendon matrix. Am J Vet Res70(6), 750-757PubMed.
  • Black L L et al(2008)Effect of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem and regenerative cells on lameness in dogs with chronic osteoarthritis of the coxofemoral joints: A randomised, double-blinded, multicenter, controlled trial. Vet Therap8(4), 272-284PubMed.
  • Del Bue M et al(2008)Equine adipose-tissue derived mesenchymal stem cells and platelet concentrates: their association in vitro and in vivo. Vet Res Comm Suppl32(S1), S51-S55PubMed.
  • Nixon A J et al(2008)Effect of adipose-derived nucleated cell fractions on tendon repair in horses with collagenase-induced tendinitis. Am J Vet Res69(7), 928-937PubMed.
  • Smith R K W (2008)Principles of stem cell therapy in the horse the science behind the technology. Pferdeheilkunde24(4), 508.
  • Hennig T et al(2007)Reduced Chondrogenic Potential of Adipose Tissue Derived Stromal Cells Correlates with an altered TGF² receptor and BMP Profile and is Overcome by BMP-6. J Cell Physiol211(3), 682-691PubMed.
  • Pacini S et al(2007)Suspension of bone marrow-derived undifferentiated mesenchymal stem cells for repair of superficial digital flexor tendon in race horses. Tissue Engineering13(12), 2949-2955PubMed.
  • Richardson L E et al(2007) Stem cells in veterinary medicine attempts at regenerating equine tendon after injury.  Trends Biotech2(9), 409-416 (Review) PubMed.
  • Takahashi K et al(2007)Induction of pluripotent stem cells from adult human fibroblasts by defined factors. Cell131(5), 861-872PubMed.
  • Kern S et al(2006)Comparative Analysis of Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Bone Marrow, Umbilical Cord Blood, or Adipose Tissue. Stem Cells24(5), 1294-1301PubMed.
  • Park J et al(2006)Transgene-activated mesenchymal cells for articular cartilage repair: a comparison of primary bone marrow-, perichondrium/periosteum-and fat derived cells. J Gene Med8(1), 112-125PubMed.
  • Im G-I et al(2005)Do adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells have the same osteogenic and chondrogenic potential as bone marrow-derived cells? Osteoarthritis and Cartilage13(10), 845-853PubMed.
  • Puissant B et al(2005)Immunomodulatory effect of human adipose tissue-derived adult stem cells: comparison with bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells. Br J Haematol129(1), 118-129PubMed.
  • Dyson S J (2004)Medical management of superficial digital flexor tendonitis: a comparative study in 219 horses (1992-2000). Equine Vet J36(5), 415-419PubMed.
  • Smith R K W (2003)Isolation and implantation of autologous equine mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow into the superficial digital flexor tendon as a potential novel treatment. Equine Vet J35(1), 99-102PubMed.
  • Hildebrand K A et al(2002)Response of donor and recipient cells after transplantation of cells to the ligament and tendon. Micro Res Tech58(1), 34-38PubMed.
  • Caplan A I & Burder S P (2001)Mesenchymal stem cells: building blocks for molecular medicine in the 21st century. Trends Molec Med7(6), 259-264PubMed.
  • Dowling B A et al(2000)Superficial digital flexor tendonitis in the horse. Equine Vet J32(5), 369-378 (Review) PubMedCrevier-Denoix N et al(1997)Mechanical properties of pathological equine superficial digital flexor tendons. Equine Vet J Suppl23, 23-26PubMed.
  • Silver I A & Rossdale P D (1983)A clinical and experimental study of tendon injury, healing and treatment in the horse. Equine Vet J Suppl1(1983), 1-43PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Smith R K W et al(2010)Stem Cell Therapy for Tendon Disease Experimental and Clinical Results in Naturally Occurring Tendinopathy in the Horse.In: Proc Int Sci Tendinopathy Symp(Umea, Sweden) pp1.

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