Amniotic stem cells are a specific type of stem cells derived from amniotic fluid, as well as from the amniotic membrane. They can develop into various types of tissues, like skin, cartilage, heart tissue, nerves, muscles, and bones.
Cells also have potential medical uses, especially in organ regeneration.
Amniotic stem cells as an alternative to embryonic stem cells
The use of amniotic stem cells eliminates the ethical problems associated with the clinical use of embryonic stem cells, the production of which requires the destruction of human embryos.
In fact, the differentiation potential of amniotic cells is much lower than that of embryonic cells.
However, with the help of cultivation, the cells return to a more primitive state, that is, they do not lose the initial ability to transform into functional cells of various types.
An important advantage of amniotic stem cells is their availability during pregnancy and childbirth, as well as the ability to cultivate large cell populations.
How do amniotic stem cells are derived?
Stem cells are usually derived from the amniotic sac using amniocentesis (a specific analysis of amniotic fluid), which does not harm the embryos.
Versatile testing confirmed their close similarity with pluripotent (capable of giving rise to all types of body cells) embryonic stem cells.
The potential of amniotic stem cells in medicine
The amniotic fluid cells can be isolated, reprogrammed and stored in stem cell banks for subsequent use in a wide range of diseases in cell therapy.
Experts believe that amniotic stem cells can be used to diagnose disorders that underlie genetic diseases (as well as for early diagnosis of other diseases, for example, cerebral palsy) and study the effect of mutations that underlie genetic diseases on the differentiation processes of specialized cells.