Characteristics of Adult Stem Cells

  • Manuel A. Gonzalez
  • Antonio BernadEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 741)


Stem cells are characterized by their unlimited ability to divide specifically; a stem cell is capable of making an immense number of copies of itself, maintaining the same characteristics. Moreover, these cells are able to generate several of the cell lineages which make up the body, including cells from the heart, liver, kidney, neurons, and muscles. Investigation of the mechanisms through which this differentiation occurs, the genes involved and the possibility of increasing the efficiency with which stem cells can be isolated and/or characterized are currently among the most important fields in biology and biomedicine.

To date, stems cells have been identified from four different sources: Embryonic stem cells (ESC), germinal stem cells, and those derived from embryonic carcinomas (teratocarcinomas) and from somatic tissues (somatic stem cells). The latter are called adult stem cells (ASC) when they are found in postnatal tissues. We now know that there is a great diversity among ASC, with some tissues, such as the bone marrow, containing more than one type of ASC. Adult stem cells have several characteristics that make them to be the main players in current regenerative medicine and are being investigated as potential therapeutic agents for a wide variety of diseases. Specifically, HSC and MSC are being assessed in increasing numbers of clinical trials.


Stem Cell Stem Cell Transplantation Cancer Stem Cell Osteogenesis Imperfecta Adult Stem Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Regenerative CardiologySpanish National Centre for Cardiovascular ResearchMadridSpain

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