Author(s): Ratajczak MZ, Suszynska M, Pedziwiatr D, Mierzejewska K, Greco NJ
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Abstract Umbilical cord blood-derived very small embryonic-like stem cells (UCB-VSELs) are the most primitive stem cells circulating in fetal peripheral blood. These very rare cells slightly smaller than red blood cells i) become mobilized during delivery, ii) are enriched in fraction of CD133+ Lin-CD45- cells iii) express markers of pluripotent stem cells (e.g., Oct4, Nanog, and SSEA-4) and iv) display a distinct morphology characterized by a high nuclear/ cytoplasmic ratio and undifferentiated chromatin. We envision that VSELs are released into neonatal peripheral blood as a migrating population of stem cells involved in regeneration of tissues that become damaged in the process of delivery. They may also be responsible for the occurrence of fetal-maternal chimerism. Our most recent data suggest that UCB-VSELs exhibit some characteristics of long-term repopulating hematopoietic stem cells (LT-HSCs). We propose that UCB-VSELs may eventually be employed as a source of pluripotent stem cells in regenerative medicine.
This article was published in Pediatr Endocrinol Rev
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy