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. To define stem cell, it is an undifferentiated cell that can renew itself again and also develop into at least three different types of tissues.
Different Types of Stem Cells
There are many different categories of stem cells, this include allogenic, autologous and xenogenic. Analogenic stem cells refer to those that came from a donor of the same species. The fact that stem cells do not have the standard surface markers that can elicit immune response, no need to fear about the host tissue rejecting it. Autologous stem cells mean that it came from a similar animal. These type of cells are good for transplanting since there is no problem about them being rejected. Meanwhile, xenogenic stem cells refer to those that came from a donor of another species, for example a pig. Despite that is it expected that these type of cells are to be rejected when injected into another species’ body, there are some cases in which they survive because they have a certain unique characteristics.
How Do Stem Cells Work?
The most popularly cited function of stem cells is their ability to differentiate into different tissues, but they have other abilities that are very helpful for healing. Stem cells have the ability to recruit other local and systemic stem cells help focus on fixing damaged tissue.
Stem cells are triggered to move into an area by signals coming from the tissue based on mechanical, chemical and neural changes. Hypoxia or the lack of oxygen, and inflammation are strong triggers for stem cells to target an injury. Stem cells only accounted less than half of the newly formed tissue, most of it are done by the recruited cells. This is the very reason why only a tiny injection of stem cells is needed. It can interfere the healing process if you inject a larger amount of stem cells since some of it will die and must be removed during the healing process.
Using Stem Cell Therapy in Horses
The repair of ligament injuries in horses has shown the most successful. It is very hard to heal an injured ligament in a horse’s lower leg. 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. Furthermore, systemic stem cell therapy can be, in the future, treat neurological conditions.