Stem cells has the potency to differentiate into specialized types of cells. The higher potency to differentiate to lower follows the order of Totipotent, Pluripotent and Multipotent. Hierarchy of Cell potency goes in the order of totipotent, pluripotent and multipotent.
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Totipotent stem cells
Totipotent cells can differentiate into embryonic and extraembryonic (placenta) cell types and also can enter the germline. They have the ability to replicate in unlimited numbers without losing their total potency. Such cells can construct a complete viable organism. These cells are produced from the fusion of an egg and sperm cell. Cells produced by the first few divisions of the fertilized egg are also totipotent.
- Totipotent cells have the remarkable ability to differentiate into any cell type, including extraembryonic tissues, during early embryonic development.
- They exist in the earliest stages of embryogenesis, typically up to the 4-cell stage of the embryo.
- Totipotent cells have the potential to give rise to an entire organism if provided with the appropriate conditions.
- These cells can also self-renew, dividing and producing identical totipotent daughter cells.
- As development progresses, totipotency diminishes, and cells become pluripotent, multipotent, or differentiated, losing their capacity to form all cell types.
- Totipotent cells play a critical role in the formation of all cell lineages in an organism during its early development.
Pluripotent stem cells
They are the descendants of totipotent cells and can differentiate into nearly all cells, i.e., cells derived from any of the three germ layers (ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm) but not extra-embryonic tissues such as the placenta. They possess capability produce any cells or tissue a body needs to repair. Embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPs) cells are pluripotent stem cells.
- Pluripotent cells have the unique ability to differentiate into a wide range of cell types within the body.
- They are typically found in the early stages of embryonic development.
- Unlike totipotent cells, pluripotent cells cannot give rise to extraembryonic tissues or form an entire organism.
- Pluripotent stem cells are crucial for generating the various cell lineages needed for an organism’s development.
- These cells serve as a foundational source for many types of specialized cells in the body, making them valuable in regenerative medicine and research.
- Pluripotent cells are characterized by their capacity to self-renew, maintaining a pool of undifferentiated cells for differentiation into specific cell types.
Multipotent stem cells
They can’t differentiate into a number of cells, but only those of a closely related family of cells present in a tissue or organ or a particular lineage. They are essentially committed to produce specific cell type.
- Multipotent cells possess the capacity to differentiate into a limited number of closely related cell types within a specific tissue or organ.
- They are more specialized than pluripotent cells but less so than unipotent cells.
- Multipotent stem cells are commonly found in various adult tissues, such as the bone marrow and neural tissue.
- Unlike pluripotent cells, multipotent cells cannot differentiate into cell types from entirely different tissue types.
- These cells play a crucial role in tissue repair and regeneration within their respective niches.
- Multipotent stem cells are known for their ability to self-renew, maintaining a pool of undifferentiated cells for ongoing tissue maintenance and repair.
Comparision between Totipotent, Pluripotent, and Multipotent Stem cells “Hierarchy of Cell potency”
|Characteristic||Totipotent Stem Cells||Pluripotent Stem Cells||Multipotent Stem Cells|
|Differentiation Range||Can differentiate into any cell type, including extraembryonic tissues||Can differentiate into many cell types within the body||Can differentiate into a limited range of closely related cell types within a specific tissue or organ|
|Developmental Stage||Found in the earliest stages of embryonic development, up to the 4-cell stage||Typically found in early embryonic development||Commonly found in various adult tissues|
|Potential for an Organism||Can give rise to an entire organism if provided with the right conditions||Cannot form an entire organism||Cannot form an entire organism|
|Tissue Regeneration||Not typically involved in tissue regeneration in adults||Valuable for regenerative medicine and research||Essential for tissue repair and regeneration within specific niches|
|Self-Renewal Capacity||Can self-renew, dividing to produce identical totipotent daughter cells||Can self-renew, maintaining a pool of undifferentiated cells||Can self-renew, maintaining a pool of undifferentiated cells|
|Examples||Zygote (fertilized egg)||Embryonic stem cells (ESCs), Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from adult cells.||Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in bone marrow (blood cell formation), Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in bone marrow (can differentiate into bone, cartilage, fat cells, etc.)|
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