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Stem cell technology: overview

pequis

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.
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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 from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Colbath A C et al (2020) Single and repeated intra-articular injections in the tarsocrural joint with allogeneic and autologous equine bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells are safe, but did not reduce acute inflammation in an experimental interleukin-1β model of synovitis. Equine Vet J 52 (4), 601-612 PubMed.
  • Colbath A C et al (2020) Allogeneic vs. autologous intra-articular mesenchymal stem cell injection within normal horses: Clinical and cytological comparisons suggest safety. Equine Vet J 52 (1), 144-151 PubMed.
  • Menarim B C et al (2019) Autologous bone marrow mononuclear cells modulate joint homeostasis in an equine in vivo model of synovitis. FASEB J 33 (12), 14337-14353 PubMed.
  • Magri C et al (2019) Comparison of efficacy and safety of single versus repeated intra-articular injection of allogeneic neonatal mesenchymal stem cells for treatment of osteoarthritis of the metacarpophalangeal/metatarsophalangeal joint in horses: A clinical pilot study. PLoS One 14 (8) e0221317 PubMed.
  • Gale A L et al (2019) Comparison of the chondrogenic differentiation potential of equine synovial membrane-derived and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Front Vet Sci 6,178 PubMed.
  • Bertoni L et al (2019) Intra-articular injection of 2 different dosages of autologous and allogeneic bone marrow- and umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells triggers a variable inflammatory response of the fetlock joint on 12 sound experimental horses. Stem Cells Int PubMed.
  • Broeckx S Y et al (2019) The use of equine chondrogenic-induced mesenchymal stem cells as a treatment for osteoarthritis: A randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled proof-of-concept study. Equine Vet J 51 (6), 787-794 PubMed.
  • Adam E N et al (2019) Chondrogenic differentiation potential of adult and fetal equine cell types. Vet Surg 48 (3), 375-387 PubMed.
  • Ortved K F (2018) Regenerative medicine and rehabilitation for tendinous and ligamentous injuries in sport horses. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract 34 (2), 359-373 PubMed
  • Beerts C et al (2017) Tenogenically induced allogeneic peripheral blood mesenchymal stem cells in allogeneic platelet-rich plasma: 2-year follow-up after tendon or ligament treatment in horses. Front Vet Sci 4,158 PubMed.
  • Vandenberghe A et al (2015) Tenogenically induced allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of proximal suspensory ligament desmitis in a horse. Front Vet Sci 22 (2), 49 PubMed.
  • 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 J 46 (4), 479-483 PubMed.
  • Lange-Consiglio A et al (2013) Characteristics of equine mesenchymal stem cells derived from amnion and bone marrow: In vitro proliferative and multilineage potential assessment. Equine Vet J 45 (6), 737-744 PubMed.
  • 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 J 45 (6), 726-731 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 J 44 (1), 25-32 PubMed.
  • 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:10.4061/2010/250978 PubMed.
  • Stewart A A et al (2009) Comparison of equine tendon-, muscle-, and bone marrowderived cells cultured on tendon matrix. Am J Vet Res 70 (6), 750-757 PubMed.
  • 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 Therap (4), 272-284 PubMed.
  • 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 Res 69 (7), 928-937 PubMed.
  • 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 Engineering 13 (12), 2949-2955 PubMed.
  • Richardson L E et al (2007) Stem cells in veterinary medicine attempts at regenerating equine tendon after injury. Trends Biotech (9), 409-416 (Review) PubMed.
  • 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 Cartilage 13 (10), 845-853 PubMed.
  • 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 J 35 (1), 99-102 PubMed.

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). pp 1.

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