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The untapped potential of stem cells in menstrual blood

Published: 15th Feb, 2024

Context

Stem cells in menstrual blood are found to have thrilling potential for health, including diagnosing endometriosis.

Which blood cells are present in menstrual blood?

  • Endometrial stem cells can be obtained non-invasively from menstrual blood and are referred to as menstrual blood-derived stem cells.
  • MenSC were first identified from menstrual blood in 2007.
  • These menstrual stem cells could offer several advantages.
  • They come from a source that's easy to obtain from women.
  • They could be used to treat patients without the fear of tissue rejection.

Endometrium

  •  Endometrium lines the inside of the uterus.
  • The endometrium has a deeper basal layer that remains intact, and an upper functional layer that sloughs off during menstruation.
  • During a single menstrual cycle, the endometrium thickens as it prepares to nourish a fertilised egg, then shrinks as the upper layer sloughs away.
  • Important Role:
    • It play a vital role in repairing and regenerating the upper layer of tissue that gets shed each month during menstruation.
    • This layer is crucial to pregnancy, providing support and nourishment for a developing embryo.
    • The layer, and the endometrial stem cells that prod its growth.
    • It also appears to play an important role in infertility.

What are Stem Cells?

  • A stem cell is a cell with the unique ability to developinto specialized cell types in the body.
  • These cells provide new cells for the bodyas it grows, and replace specialized cells that are damaged or lost.
  • In the future, they will be used to replace cells and tissuesthat have been damaged or lost due to disease.
  • Human body is made up of numerous types of cells.
  • Most cells are specialized for particular functions, like the red blood cells that carry oxygen in our bodies through the blood, but they are unable to divide.
  • All stem cells regardless of their source have three general properties:
    • They are capable of dividing and renewingthemselves for long periods
    • They are unspecialized
    • They can give rise to specialized celltypes

Embryonic stem cells vs Adult stem cells

  • Stem cells come from two main sources: embryos or adult tissues.
    • Embryonic stem cells can give rise to virtually any cell type in the body, but they are controversial because conventional procedures for obtaining them involve the destruction of an embryo.
    • Adult stem cells, such as those found in bone marrow, do not pose the same ethical concerns, but they have limited powers and collecting them can require invasive procedures.

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